Just scroll back into Seascapes and look at the astonishing variety of ships and marine equipment that has been developed in relatively recent years. Marine technology is every bit as enterprising and exciting as any other and there has been an explosion in technological development as the industry has tried hard to develop more efficient, more profitable and more environmentally sustainable methods of marine transport.
All of this has required a great deal of investment in research and development – R&D – and in naval architecture, marine engineering, maritime electronics and marine equipment design a busy R&D sector has grown up dedicated to designing better ships and equipment.
This all takes place in a variety of places. Shipyards hoping to sell their ships to owners invest heavily both in ship designs, and in better methodology for building them. They are looking at new product lines, responding to the demands of their customers and anticipating what they think the market is likely to need in future years.
There has also grown up a busy network of design consultancies heavily involved in the design of better ships and often specialised in certain market sectors. They, too, often find themselves at the cutting edge of technology, devising new hull shapes with exciting advances in hydrodynamics, and developing ship types to meet specialised demands that are not yet available “off the shelf”. These experts find themselves commissioned to undertake R&D work from shipyards, ship owners and operators, anxious to gain a commercial lead through advanced technology.
Research has also become one of the important roles of classification societies, with the larger societies often leading the field in specialist research into strength of materials, failure investigation, and advances in hull and machinery. Meanwhile the engine builders are also working hard to stay at the forefront of technology with products that answer the demand from owners for more economic engines and auxiliaries and which are ever more environmentally sustainable. Environmental constraints are requiring a great deal of rethinking in marine design as engine builders try and minimise harmful emissions and greenhouse gases. There is also a considerable amount of R&D undertaken in the fields of navigation, marine electronics and control equipment.
A number of universities around the world have also gained strong reputations in maritime R&D, while there are test tanks specialising in hydrodynamic research (See Seascapes No.41) which do important work for the next generation of ships.
Viewer can log on to: Seascapeshttps://www.bimco.org/Education/Seascapes.aspx
Links to look at: www.bmt.org