SNAME President Predicts Era Of Vitality Ahead For Maritime Industry

"As we approach and enter the next century, it is my conviction that it will be an era of vitality for the marine industry as mankind turns increasingly to the sea for energy, minerals, food, and entertainment, as well as for transportation and petroleum," says Robert T. Young, president of The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME).

Mr. Young presented this outlook in an address on May 25, 1978, at the California Maritime Academy's Fourth Annual Maritime Industry Symposium. The meeting focused on the subject of "The U.S. Maritime Industry Beyond the Decade of the 1980's." Mr. Young said the maritime industry would meet the new emphasis on the oceans through the development of systems for generating energy from wind, current, tides, and gradients of salinity and temperature, and also of floating structures for purposes such as factories, powerplants, hotels, and fish farms.

On floating buildings and powerplants, Mr. Young pointed out the U.S. marine industry has been participating in their design, and in some cases, the construction and operation of first generation structures. "As they come into wider use, our industry will be in a good position of providing its expertise. I envision the merchant marine of the next century as one of science fiction coming to life with floating marine structures serving a myriad of functions from industrial to recreational." Mr. Young, chairman of the board of the American Bureau of Shipping, one of the leading international ship classification societies, cited recent contract awards that could help accelerate the use of vessels for energy purposes. "The Department of Energy has already contracted Lockheed Missiles & Space Company, Westinghouse, and by now possibly others to design an ocean thermal energy conversion system for generating electricity using the temperature difference between the warm surface and colder, deeper water in the oceans." Speaking before an audience of representatives from the marine industry and the Academy's senior class of midshipmen, Mr.

Young mentioned other "general influences now emerging that I foresee as becoming predominant factors in the industry.

"The escalating costs and eventual scarcity of fuel oil will cause shipowners to seek refinements in propulsion systems and hull forms, now in common use, that will increase their efficiency and hydrodynamic performance.

"This focus on operating economics will lead to closer attention being paid to the ways cargo is handled and space is used for storing cargo aboard ships," Mr.

Young said. "With labor costs assuming an ever-increasing share of operating expenses, we can expect further advances in automated and mechanized methods to perform functions now requiring manual labor. I think there also will be increased study of space efficiency resulting in both internal refinements and more specialized types of vessels and more multipurpose vessels, such as RO/ROs and OBOs."

Other stories from July 1978 issue


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