Welcome to Naval Architecture Week!

Welcome to Naval Architecture Week!


The role of the naval architect in the design and construction of ships has become steadily more important. While, obviously, the profession of naval architecture has only been recognised as a separate and distinct one for about 200 years, the reality is that ship designers have been around for millennia. Recently, however, with the development of CAD-CAM technology, the involvement and value of naval architects in the shipbuilding process has leapt ahead.

Essentially, a good naval architect, well briefed, can save the builder and owner very significant amounts of money.

Naval architects have always been closely involved with the ship production process but never more so than quite recently. Current digital technology has enabled designers to exactly specify lofting and plate cutting and other detailed pre-welding work. Thinking back to the “good old days,” prior to about 1995, the changes have been phenomenal. Very importantly, that digital technology seems to advance almost monthly.

I well remember a then leading builder of OSVs in Asia explaining to me 20 years ago how it was far more economical for him to spend three times as much on a fully digital CAD-CAM design than on a traditional one because of the savings achieved in lofting, plate cutting, and construction. CAD really does what naval architects have always done, just more quickly and neatly. It is the CAM part that makes all the difference in the economics of shipbuilding.

Design • Testing • Analysis • Software • Engineering

While the CAD-CAM aspects of modern naval architecture are vital, it is the other areas of shapes, structures, and mechanical engineering that have come a long way very quickly, all strongly enabled by CAM technology. The advances in vessel design in terms of shapes, structures, power, propulsion, electronics, and other equipment have been remarkable so far in this millennium. It has been a very exciting time for the profession.

Baird Maritime this week provides some interesting evidence of those advances in this Naval Architecture Week. Some very interesting vessels that illustrate many aspects of modern naval architecture will be reviewed or described.

For example, the Norwegian-designed and -built dive and ROV support boat Karen illustrates numerous advances achieved by its designer/builder Hukkelberg. It is a very exciting and impressive boat.

The BC Ferries hybrid diesel electric vessels illustrate the pace of change in the propulsion system side of naval architecture that are necessitated by current environmental requirements in many parts of the world.

Damen’s concept illustrations for its fast crewboat show the basis for the development of modern vessel designs, so does the development of the fast diesel electric hybrid patrol boat built by Onego Ships in Western Russia for the Port of Vanino in the environmentally-sensitive Russian Far East.

Another very interesting concept is Berlin publisher Media Pioneer’s floating office, Pioneer One. It is concept that may have a big future in that it offers a mobile office that can be adapted to many changes in business circumstances and, in many cases, avoid the cost of land purchase.

As always with new design concepts, the profession of naval architecture gives us much to think about.

Vessel Reviews:

Features and Opinion:

INTERVIEW | Damen develops innovative add-on technology to reduce hull resistance

– “An advantage of DACS is that it can be relatively easily installed on existing vessels…”

– by Nelson Dela Cruz, Baird Maritime correspondent

FEATURE | New inland boxship concept promises bigger loads, faster transits on Mississippi River

– “…the 181- by 40-metre, 2,375TEU vessel will have the distinction of being the largest ship ever to sail on the Mississippi River.”

COLUMN | Building locally – hearts or heads? [Grey Power]

– “Should [naval auxiliary] ships be put out to worldwide tender and ordered from wherever the best deal is to be found?”

– by Michael Grey, former long-term editor of Lloyd’s List

News and Gear:

Recent Important Features:

EDITORIAL | Sydney Ferries passengers risk physical decapitation; NSW taxpayers will be financially decapitated

– “Why was the largest ship builder in NSW, which could easily have successfully completed the project, not so much as contacted?”

– by Neil Baird, co-founder, Baird Maritime

Remember to come back every day to see the latest news, opinion and vessel reviews!

Call for content!

Any news or views about the global maritime tourism, ferry and cruise industries? Send it through to [email protected] ASAP (between now and September 25), so we can add it to this current edition of Naval Architecture Week!

We are after:

  • Vessels – Orders, new deliveries, under construction
  • Gear – Latest innovations and technology in the naval architecture sector
  • Interviews – Owners, operators, designers, builders etc.
  • Reminiscences – Do you have any exciting, amusing or downright dangerous anecdotes from your time in the naval architecture world? (example here)
  • Other – Any other relevant news

Neil Baird

Co-founder and former Editor-in-Chief of Baird Maritime and Work Boat World magazine, Neil has travelled the length and breadth of this planet in over 40 years in the business. He knows the global work boat industry better than anyone.