Tag: Martin & Ottaway

 

For this week's Throwback Thursday, check out the Martin & Ottaway engineering staff circa 1992.  Four of these ten guys are still around - can you identify them?

On August 28, 2013 a tanker was lying at anchor off the port of Long Beach, CA and experienced a breach of the shell plate above the waterline in way of the No. 6P water ballast tank following allision with another vessel.

 

 

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We all like to kid about acronym soup, and it is pretty difficult to keep up with all the new ones. I remember that as a young engineer I was always hesitant to ask in public, because I was afraid that asking the question would prove my ignorance.

 

Somewhere in my career I crossed that bar and now when somebody uses an acronym that I don't know (well, at my age, it generally is an acronym I can't remember), I no longer worry about admitting my ignorance and simply ask what it means. Occasionally I even emerge victoriously without trying when the acronym dropper cannot tell me what it means. 

 

Martin & Ottaway has been deeply involved in a specific acronym progression that has roiled the maritime industry for a while now. It began in the 1990's with QMS, it begat TQM, then it begat ISM, which begat SMS, which begat STCW, which begat ISPS, which begat ECP and dozens of derivative acronym offshoots. And to deal with all of it, the industry developed the corporate HQSE department and Martin & Ottaway functions as an HQSE consultant. HQSE stands for Health, Quality, Safety and Environmental. At first glance, this acronym is reasonably inclusive of the systems that a well run shipping company needs to have in place to satisfy the demands that are not directly related to the company's income producing model. We like to call them "for the public" systems, because they allow a company to function as a responsible world citizen (and more importantly, based on our experience, they actually add to the corporate bottom line). 

 

But the acronym is not complete and misses a number of important concepts.

 

I was struggling with this when writing a paper about recent HQSE system issues that I will be presenting at the SNAME annual meeting on October 26. That paper shows that training systems need to be an integral component of HQSE systems. This led me to wonder about how to introduce the "T" for training into HQSE.

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Fisheries management is an excruciatingly complex subject. The management (or mismanagement)  of fisheries can very rapidly affect the viability of the industry and has all sorts of carry on effects. Martin & Ottaway sees these effects in fishing boat accident investigations and fishing boat valuations. For example, a fishing boat value is not just tied to the market, or even to its specific trade, but can also be affected by applicable fishing licenses and fishery management methods. While fishing will always be dangerous, as can be noted at the end of this story, well designed and well managed fisheries tend to be much safer than poorly managed fisheries.

 

Improper management can result in complete vessel value collapse, as has occurred in Spain and was described in a New York Times article, while a successful management program can have many positive carry on effects.

 

Seattle Admiralty Attorney (and fellow wooden boat aficionado) Chip Jordan introduced me to an example of a program that is worthy of further consideration. It concerns the Seattle fishing schooner fleet.

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Our first blog on "Women and Children First" elicited a fair amount of comment on various discussion sites. 

 

A major part of the discussion centered on the Birkenhead disaster. The Birkenhead disaster is considered to be the first application, or even the invention, of the "Women and Children First" concept.

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The title of this story has a purpose. On an ironic level, web search engines may regard it as a rare combination of terms (Wall Street and Efficiency). But, actually, it is a story about the maritime industry's efforts to fight for real efficiencies.

 

Seastreak is the ferry service between our part of New Jersey and New York City. This ferry service took its first feeble steps in the early eighties and today is an integral part of the quality of life of Monmouth County. M&O has shared many of the adventures and stumbling blocks with the progression of Owners that eventually resulted in the present service (which, by the way, is a true commercial venture and does not rely on subsidies). Once it became apparent that the service was viable in the late 1990's, Seastreak purchased four new catamaran ferries from Gladding Hearn.  

 

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Mikael Elinder and Oscar Erixson of Uppsala University recently performed an interesting analysis of survival rates in a large number of major ship disasters ranging over a period of over 150 years. They were interested in determining whether the old adage "Woman and Children First" actually occurred in such disasters.

 

While many of their conclusions are statistically very dubious, their data indicates that women and children survival rates actually are substantially lower than men and crew in major shipping disasters.

 

The most significant exception is the Titanic where a much higher percentage of women and children did survive. This study was a statistical analysis, and while the numbers do support their findings, each disaster is unique and there may have been factors that would have resulted in lower women and children survival rates even if there was an intent to allow the women and children to enter the life boat first. Some of these disasters may have been so confusing that the order was never heard, others may have developed too quickly for any type of abandonment order to have taken place. And when panic develops, "Woman and Children First" (or any other type of group objective) is simply abandoned in the quest for individual survival.

 

However, quite possibly, Messrs. Elinder and Erixson's analysis just sheds light read more »

M&O covers quite a range of waterfronts. Some we only visit occasionally (for example, Bahia Blanca, Argentina we visit no more than about once a decade) but others we visit on an almost daily basis.

 

The Delaware River ports are home turf for us, but every now and then we need to check the internet to make sure we show up at the right gate. Chris Law made such a website visit recently and came across this link:   http://www.holtlogistics.com/riverside-renewable-energy

 

This was such an interesting link that we copy the picture on it right here:

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This May we decided to perform a heavy duty office cleaning and we literally opened every file drawer in the office and in our storage basement to see what had to go and what needed to stay.

 

I came across one file that was marked "fax junk." Remember faxes and remember getting silly fax stuff from friends? This was one of the mother files. Next to all the silliness I came across a copy of this March 12, 1993 Journal of Commerce article:

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A recent bit in the news announced that the "Exxon Valdez" in its present incarnation as the "Oriental Nicety" is bound for the scrap yard.

 

It is easy to think of the "Exxon Valdez" as some villainous symbol in the drama of the oil spill in Alaska, but, as Paul Harvey used to say, then there is the rest of the story.

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