ships 7



During the era of Soviet Union, travelling inside the country was limited for foreigners. During this same era, traveling was limited in many other countries too, but USSR was the one who was providing the classic solution on this challenge. There was a state-owned travel secretservice which produced traveling packages that were providing the “correct” routing and timetable for passengers that were able to book the experience. It was a controlled way to allow selected friendly souls to visit the country, but also to influence on their travel experience.

You might wonder, what does this has anything to do with hybrid design? And it is also very far from being paranormal activity!

It is well-known ship building fact, that Owner-Shipyard-Supplier forms a working triangle, where each one is working towards the same goal. This goal is looking different from each corner and leads to different direction. With my colleagues, we started to call this “A ship building Bermuda’s triangle”, which led to the outcome that none of these three parties was able to predict what will be the final outcome.

Something un-explainable happens inside this design triangle, and nobody is able to name particular reason why? Is it paranormal or just normal? What happens, who knows?

  • Owner focuses on the vessel performance and practical targets.
  • Shipyard focuses first to win the commercial competition and then within the created commercial window, to deliver required with as clever manner as possible.
  • Supplier is trying to deliver benefit for both parties, which is sometimes mission impossible.

Details should be fixed at very early stage. This is a challenging work, and it is not an easily understandable task, unless you have been in industry for a while. These three actors start operating and make decisions. Each decision is influencing the next and leading to cumulating results. No way to reverse when schedule is pushing on.

Project starts to sail onto the grey waters, where the outcome easily is something that nobody wanted. When tasks are related to hybrid design, this is something new still for vast majority of the ship building industry. It may be easier to end up in this grey area. The design is made based on optimistic assumptions, that someone in the team knows what to do. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and unsatisfactory outcomes are still quite common. Spooky?

It looks to me that this is happening more and more in the market and is one main reason for me to have this blog. Ship building is not an industry that can be understood easily when coming from outside. In the hybrid design market, it happens all the time that tempting new technologies are introduced and interesting manufacturers arrive to the market. That is not yet sufficient basis for a functionable solution.

There are a lot of “USSR travel service agents” to guide the travellers into the unknown hybrid zone of paranormal Bermuda’s triangle. They are “woodoo priests” from some other industry or battery manufacturers with some new chemistry. Or idealistic prophets that just want to install four windmills onboard and unpractical visualizers that expect solar power to run the ship.

Therefore I have to say out loud, that the joy of purchasing/installing/delivering the batteries or fuel cells or any other great gimmicks is just not enough to make the ship design work.  It does not make sense to just walkabout into the grey area, when someone points the finger from the edge of it and says: – Go there!

The marine market has responsible, experienced travel agents for you to use – so use them, and you do not have to go to Bermuda at all.  And also take this note: bad environmental friendly design may be worse than a good traditional design.


P.S. I will continue this subject in our September newsletter, so if you didn’t subscribe yet, do it here. You will also get free video about efficient ship design. Best regards to Markku Hokkanen, who spoke about this same topic already decade ago. Credit there, where it belongs.

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Managing the electrical system project in a ship

Heikki Bergman

I am expert on supporting conceptual decisions and pre-design in electrical ship concepts and modernizations. I have worked in power electronics since 1994, completely in marine since 1998. I have long and practical international experience.

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