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Rik van Hemmen's picture
Friday, August 14th, 2015

What's So Funny About ORB's?

During the MAX1 conference Captain Tim Sullivan of Hornbeck Offshore sprung a surprise on us. His presentation dealt with Hornbeck’s very impressive efforts at improving MARPOL compliance and then towards the end of the presentation he mentioned that they needed to simplify their Oil Record Book guidance and therefore had handed all their stuff to a professional manual writer. He then held up a little booklet that looked quite familiar to us, but actually was a brand new version of a well known concept.

 

Hornbeck Offshore had commissioned Todd Brock (famous author of “Building Chicken Coops for Dummies”) and the Publisher John Wiley & Sons to produce “Oil Record Book for Dummies”!

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In the MAX1 study survey we included a few questions where we asked crews to tell us what their favorite Oily Water Separator brands are. We were very hesitant to include that question because there could be all types of weird bias and we would need a huge sample to makes sense of data where there could be as many as 40 brands and even more models mentioned.

The survey was very successful, but the “favorite brand of OWS” question was not very effective. We wanted to include that question because there is a real problem with brand specific customer feedback in OWS equipment.  Some OWS manufacturers may have great working relationships with certain ship owners, but, overall, shipowners simply buy what the shipyard deems a good deal, or they themselves specify a brand with little or no feedback from their crews.

 

The lack of feedback, on a systems design level, is very ineffective.  read more »

Today, August 11, 2015, was a landmark day for Martin & Ottaway. Traditionally M&O used a report numbering system. Once a report was issued, it was provided with a sequential report number, but when I joined the firm in 1988, keeping track of projects by ship’s names until the report was issued became an unmanageable task, and that year we started a case number system. We simply took the last report number and for each case in progress we assigned sequential numbers.

 

We made a case book and when a project started we took out a case number.  To make the number easily identifiable, Henk van Hemmen suggested we precede each case number with the initials “WT” to honor William T. Ottaway who had started the report numbering sequence in 1961.

 

In 1988 we started with case number WT-17593 (which would have been the next report number that day) for a ship named the Aconcagua. Harry Ottaway told me he and his father had started with report number 10000 in 1961, which would convert to a little less than 300 reports per year. Often one project results in one report, but that is just a loose association.  

 

When we moved to Red Bank in 1995, we had reached case number WT-19541. This was roughly 2000 cases in 7 years, which converts to a little less than 300 cases per year. Because we had moved to New Jersey, we decided we would start with a clean sheet and our next case was numbered WT-20000.

 

Today we opened case number WT-25000, 5000 cases in 20 years! read more »

 

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?

With great pleasure Martin & Ottaway announces that Jim van Langen has joined the firm as an engineering and management consultant.

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This story will makes two important points about technical reasoning that in the heat of combat, disasters, disputes, commerce, parenting or politics often get overlooked.

 

They are:

 

1.If your starting data is flawed, the rest of your argument becomes inherently flawed

2.Just because one thing looks like the other, it does not mean that they are comparable.

 

The problem is that it is so easy to hide these issues in clever packaging. Only when somebody carefully analyzes the argument and looks at the underlying data, will it become apparent that it is fatally flawed.

The example I will use is a TED lecture by Malcolm Gladwell. Malcolm Gladwell is the author of "Blink, the Power of Thinking without Thinking" and other popular observational works and TED is an organization that organizes symposia where smart people listen to other smart people who discuss unusual discoveries or insights. A TED lecture is about 15 minutes and there are some truly incredibly useful lectures such as the Hans Rosling lectures, but not all TED lectures rise to that level.

 

So that is the setting; here is the story..... read more »

Our artist friend Mary Mattingly often contacts us for technical advice since she is very much interested in wetland and maritime community projects.

 

Often our involvement with her projects relates to providing her with assistance in finding solutions to floating her projects. (Actual flotation, not the financial kind)

 

As an artist Mary works with tiny budgets and often the largest cost component relates to the procurement of the float on which the project can be mounted. This blog presents an interesting flotation solution.

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The MAX1 conference, which took place in Wilmington, NC on June 24, 2015, set a new standard in Shipboard Waste Management studies. The conference was a rapid fire exchange of ideas by 30 industry professionals representing almost all stakeholders involved in shipboard waste management.

 

For too long OWS and Shipboard Waste Management has been a stove piped debate and this conference finally broke the stovepipes and allowed industry professionals to interact with their peers in a completely transparent setting. Thanks to the hard work of all attendees we initiated significant advances and mutual understanding in developing solutions that have evaded the industry for almost 50 years.

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In engineering there are the difficult problems and the really difficult problems. Getting to the moon or designing a safe replica schooner is difficult. The really difficult engineering problems often require that the user also needs to be re-engineered. Such problems may involve removing addiction or stopping irrational behavior or reducing poverty or altering preconceived notions.

 

I have often stated that the most difficult problem in my career has been the problem of proper bilge water management in all its forms, and on June 23 and 24 there will be a conference that completes the MAX1Study effort and that discusses the latest developments in that regard. It will address old and new concerns and present the latest thinking in achieving rugged and efficient solutions. Especially the search for efficient solutions is taking center stage and often only after massive study will the efficient solutions start to become more apparent.

 

Very strangely, in the middle of this work, I came across a very interesting article in the Atlantic magazine about making proper police reforms. read more »