Rik van Hemmen's blog

Education in maritime is in a class by itself for too many reasons to count. Bottom line; maritime education works, and people are starting to take notice.

 

The strength of maritime education lies in integration. Basically it allows students to engage in multiple learning experiences simultaneously. Instead of one hour of language, one hour of math and one hour of science, the Holy Grail in education is to find a setting where one hour of education is the equivalent of three hours of language, math and science.

 

This often occurs in maritime education and that is why it is so effective (as described in this SNAME article by Gayle Horvath of NMHA), but just because it occurs, does not mean that it cannot be improved or enhanced.

 

 

On May 12, 2014, a very special group of New York Harbor stake holders made an announcement that provides an entirely new concept in maritime educational excellence.

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The most fascinating aspect of the marine industry is the fact that it is nothing but a more technologically aggressive version of what takes place ashore. The world ashore changes and the world at sea changes just as fast. However, shore based technological concepts are all divided along the various technological stove pipes, while, at sea, technological aspects flow into the same pool of naval architects and marine engineers all day and somehow they have to deal with them and focus more tightly on efficiencies at the same time.

 

That means we get to be jacks of all trades (and, as some may argue; masters of none), but our much sharper drive to efficiency at sea often provides additional insights.

 

I just came across one of those issues in an article in Maritime Reporter. In the printed article (the printed article is better than the link I provided) Mr. Pospiech provides a very concise overview of Methane Slip.

 

Methane slip is methane that is not used as a fuel in an engine and basically escapes into the atmosphere. read more »

The OPA 90 Salvage Response regulations have now been in effect for a number of years and while there has not yet been a major US incident that tests the system to the limit, there have been a few smaller incidents where some lessons are being learned.

 

The most central issue in the US Salvage regulations focuses on first getting people in place as quickly as possible. There is no doubt that, in salvage, knowledgeable eyes on site is the single most effective driver in building the full subsequent response.

 

The USCG is well aware of that and has designed the regulations to require a very rapid on site response by salvors. At the inception of the tank vessel salvage requirements DonjonSMIT, one of the major US salvage response providers, tasked Martin & Ottaway with the development of a system that provides the ability to put knowledgeable personnel on site as soon as possible anywhere in USCG administered locations. read more »

It may have become evident that I am of the opinion that the maritime community is a tower of strength for the spirit of cooperation, jointness and just getting the job done. I will provide yet another example of this, but first let me set the stage.

 

This year is the 350th anniversary of the founding of New Jersey. New Jersey was a little late in getting founded because it was controlled by the Dutch who were interested in maritime and trade, but not all that much in settling the landward side of Nieuw Amsterdam. This changed in 1663/1664 when the Dutch ceded Nieuw Amsterdam to England and British farmers who felt that it was time to officially settle the land we now know as New Jersey.

 

The most significant settlement that occurred was the arrival of a few English Quaker and Baptist families who left Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn and arrived in Monmouth County near the mouth of the Navesink River in the early summer of 1664.

 

They came by boat and our friends at Navesink Maritime Heritage Association felt we should commemorate this event with a visit to the Navesink by a proper vessel. It turns out we knew about such a vessel, it is the Onrust. read more »

As a naval architect and marine engineer I have slowly drifted into a bizarre conundrum that actually may be an industry wide problem that is ripe for an industry wide solution.

 

What I am talking about is a loss of all those really great NAME engineering computer programs that were developed in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Yes, today we have much fancier NAME computer packages that are heavily integrated, but, in actual fact, they only serve a small market and have completely left out those engineers and designers (and hobbyists, and university students and even high schoolers) who do not sit in front of a particular computer design package all day, but who do want to get a relatively fast answer to a particular problem. read more »

There is absolutely nothing so absolutely awesome as ice boating. It was the greatest thrill in the world 200 years ago and it still is today, and I have no problem betting that it will be still be an astonishing thrill 200 years from now.

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This week is a sad week for New York Maritime. Engine repairer extraordinaire, Goltens, has announced that they will be closing their shop in Brooklyn. Goltens New York was the last classic marine engine repair shop in the port of New York.

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Technology failures are inevitable. The trick is to keep failures to a minimum and to keep failures in the “mostly harmless” category. Certain types of equipment can fail and the failure does not result in consequences that are too serious, while other types of equipment failures can make a mess of things almost right away. Ship’s steering gear undoubtedly belongs in the latter category, and, therefore, steering gear normally gets special attention in its design and construction. In our office we have had a spate of steering gear failure investigations lately and very interestingly they all seem to have different causes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is just a short list of recent steering gear failures that we were involved in:

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On March 1, 2014 the USS Somerset (LPD-25) will be commissioned in Philadelphia. The Somerset is the third and final San Antonio Class vessel named after 9/11 locations.

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