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Todays shipyards are highly sophisticated production facilities that can

involve thousands of employees, if the facility is a large one like the Daewoo
shipyard in Busan, South Korea, which employs around 46,000 people. The
process of producing ships and keeping to the production schedule in a
modern shipyard is essential for its efficiency and profitability.
Shipbuilding is dominated by China, Korea & Japan, as more than 90% of the
worlds cargo capacity is being produced in those countries.

The first step in the construction of a new ship involves a naval architect, or
a team of architects.

A naval architect asked to design a ship may receive his instructions in a form
ranging from such simple requirements as an oil tanker to carry 100,000 tons
deadweight at 15 knots to a fully detailed specification of precisely planned
requirements. He is usually required to prepare a design for a vessel that
must carry a certain weight of cargo (or number of passengers) at a specified
speed with particular reference to trade requirements. For example, high-
density cargoes, such as machinery, require little hold capacity, while the
reverse is true for low-density cargoes, such as grain.
Deadweight is defined as the weight of the cargo plus fuel and consumable
stores, whereas lightweight refers to the weight of the hull as well as
machinery and equipment. The designer must choose dimensions in such a
way that the displacement of the vessel is equal to the sum of the
deadweight and the lightweight tonnages.
The draftwhich is governed by freeboard rulesenables the depth to be
determined to a first approximation.
After selecting preliminary values of length, breadth, depth, draft, and
displacement, the designer must achieve a weight balance. He must also
select a moment balance because centres of gravity in both the longitudinal
and vertical directions must provide satisfactory trim and stability.
Additionally, he must estimate the shaft horsepower required for the
specified speed, since this determines the weight of the machinery on board.
The strength of the hull must also be adequate for the intended use of the
vessel. Detailed scantlings (frame dimensions and plate thicknesses) can be
obtained from the rules of the classification society. These scantlings
determine the requisite weight of the steel used for the hull.
The vessel should possess satisfactory steering characteristics and freedom
from troublesome vibration and should comply with the many varied
requirements of international regulations. Besides having a sleek, well-
designed appearance, the ship should have the minimum net register
tonnage, the factor on which harbour and other dues are based. (The gross
tonnage represents the volume of all closed-in spaces above the inner
bottom. The net tonnage is the gross tonnage minus certain deductible
spaces that do not produce revenue. Net tonnage can therefore be
regarded as a measure of the earning capacity of the ship, hence its use as a
basis for harbour and docking charges.)

Passenger vessels must satisfy a standard of bulkhead subdivision that will

ensure adequate stability under specified conditions if the hull is pierced
accidentally, for example in case of collision.

Once the naval architects have completed the preliminary design or the
general-arrangement plan of the vessel along with detailed specifications of
the hull and on-board machinery, the shipbuilder undertakes to deliver the
completed vessel to the client by a certain date and for an agreed-upon price,
and a contract is signed.
This is when the shipyard really kicks into action.

Fig. 1: General arrangement plan of a Bulk Carrier


Fig. 2: General arrangement plan of an Oil Tanker

Throughout the actual construction process there are a few milestones, for
example steel cutting, keel laying, launching, and delivery. Often those
milestones are also the points in the process where the stage payments of the
ship are made. The design specifications are also constantly checked and
updated if necessary.

Lets have a look at what happens in the shipyard once the preliminary design
of the ship has been approved:

1. Signing of the Contract - When the builder and the ship owner sign the
contract, a ceremony is usually held at the shipyard. This marks the starting
point for the shipyard to begin construction of the ship. Normally the first
payment is also made once the contract is signed, and the working plans and
instructions are drawn up for submission to the classification society for
approval. At this stage the ship is officially given a hull number and an IMO
number, which is a unique identity that will follow the ship throughout its

2. Production Design - The production design organizes the design

information in the detailed design plans into respective component
information. The production design enables the field staff to meticulously
control a large amount of components on site. This is handled by the planning
and production department, which prepares a detailed progress schedule,
fixing dates for the completion of various stages in the construction. A berth in
the yard is also allocated to the ship.

3. Material and Equipment Purchase - At this stage the shipyard starts to

purchase all the material and equipment needed to complete construction of

the vessel. The shipbuilder must negotiate with subcontractors for the supply
of items that shipyards do not producethe electric power plant, propulsion
machinery, shafting and propellers, engine-room auxiliaries, deck machinery,
anchors, cables, and furniture and fittings.
Since a tremendous amount of materials need to be ordered to build a ship, it
is vital to manage and supervise the delivery dates of those materials so that
the procurement is timely, accurate, and most importantly, within budget.

4. Production Plan The production plan has a critical impact on

manufacturing efficiency due to the enormous amount of components and the
large number of workers on the job site. The labour force in the yard consists
of various workmensteelworkers, shipfitters, shipwrights, joiners, plumbers,
turners, engine fitters, electricians, riggers, and painters.

The management of the shipyard is headed by a chairman and a board of

directors. The main departments are the design, drawing, and estimating
offices, planning and production control, the shipyard department
responsible for construction up to launchingand the outside finishing
department, which is responsible for all work on board after launching. Other
departments are responsible for buying and storekeeping and yard
It is vital, therefore, to plan thoroughly so as to control and supervise co-
operation between departments, the flow of materials, work volume, job
assignments and the overall progress of the shipbuilding process.

5. Steel Cutting - Steel plates are cut into the parts that will form the hull and
deck sections of the ship. The process of heating and bending a steel plate
into a curved shape is of great importance in shipbuilding, and requires
sophisticated skill and technique.
In general, a shipyard has few building berths and uses a lot of space around
them for the construction of the large components of the steel hull. The
building berths slope downward toward the waterway, to make launching
easier. Building basins, or dry docks, are sometimes used for the construction
of very large vessels because it is convenient to lower, rather than to lift, large
assemblies, and this method also helps with launching. The building berths
therefore need to be next to the water, and the water needs to be quite deep.
The steel plates and sections used for the hull construction are delivered to
the shipyard at the end of the area furthest from the berths. There they are
stored in a stockyard and removed, as needed, for cleaning, straightening,
shaping, and cutting.
Normally the second stage payment will be made during this phase.

6. Keel Laying and Mounting of Ship Sections The backbone of a ship is

her keel. It is basically a longitudinal beam located at the very bottom of the
ship and extending from stem to stern.

The cut steel is assembled section by section, into smaller blocks that are in
turn assembled into larger sections and mounted together to finally become a
complete ship.

In other words, large parts of the hull, for example the complete bow and
stern, are constructed separately. Each of these parts is built up from
subassemblies or component parts, which are then welded together to form
the complete bow or stern, and then mounted onto the keel. These sections of
the ship are manufactured under cover in large sheds before being
transported to the berth and then fitted into place and welded to the adjacent
section. The advantages of this procedure are that work can proceed under
cover, unhampered by bad weather, and the units or component parts can be
built up in sequences to suit the welding operationsnot always possible at
the building berth itself.
The third payment is made at this stage.

7. Launching When all the blocks are mounted and joined, it is time for
launching. While the launching at a dock simply means filling the dock with
water to float the ship, the launching from a building berth is a very impressive
and exciting sight to see since the ship slides its way majestically into the sea,
usually stern first. This is one of the most thrilling moments for all involved
with the shipbuilding process. The fourth payment will normally take place
during launching.

8. Finishing of the Vessel - After launching, the vessel is finished up at the

quay. Starting with the finishing work on the accommodation and control
sections, every piece of equipment and instrument is checked and re-
checked. We are now in the final stretch of the shipbuilding process.
The main machinery, together with auxiliaries, piping systems, deck gear,
lifeboats, accommodation equipment, plumbing systems, and rigging are
installed on board, along with whatever insulation and deck coverings are
necessary. Fitting out may be a relatively minor undertaking, as with a tanker
or a bulk carrier, but in the case of a passenger vessel, the work will be
extensive. Although fitting-out operations are diverse and complex, we can
divide the work into four phases: (1) collection and grouping of the specified
components, (2) installation of components according to schedule, (3)
connection of components to appropriate piping and/or wiring systems, and
(4) testing of completed systems.

9. Sea Trials - As the vessel nears completion a number of tests are made.
The naval architect makes a careful assessment of the weight of the finished
ship and checks its stability and loading particulars by referring to data for the
ships lightweight and centre of gravity, obtained from a simple inclining
experiment. The inclining test also provides a check on calculations.

Before the official sea trials, dockside trials are carried out for the preliminary
testing of the main and auxiliary engines and machinery. Formal speed trials,
necessary to fulfill the contract terms, are often preceded by a builders trial.
Contract terms usually require the speed to be achieved under specified
conditions of draft and deadweight, a requirement met by runs made over a
measured course.
It is usual to conduct a series of progressive speed trials, when the vessels
performance over a range of speeds is measured. The essential requirements
for a satisfactory measured course are: adequate depth of water, freedom

from sea traffic, and clear marking posts to show the distance. Sea-trial
performance can provide a valuable yardstick for assessing performance in
service. Ideally, the ship should be run on trial in the fully loaded condition, but
this is difficult to achieve with most dry-cargo ships. It is, however, quite
simple to arrange in oil tankers by filling the cargo tanks with seawater.

10. Delivery - The new ship is born. After the delivery ceremony, the master,
chief engineer and crew will embark for the ships maiden voyage. The final
installment is paid at delivery.

Answer the following questions, or fill in the blanks needed.

1. Who designs a ship? __________________________________________

2. __________________________ tonnage is a measurement of total

contents of a ship including cargo, fuel, crew, passengers, food, and water
aside from boiler water. It is expressed in long tons of 2,240 pounds (1,016

3. ___________________ is a measurement of total capacity expressed in

volumetric tons of 100 cubic feet; it is calculated by adding the underdeck
tonnage and the internal volume of tween-decks and deck space used for
cargo. The measurement is used in assessing harbour dues and canal transit
dues for merchant ships.

4. The ____________ (American) or draught (British) of a ship's hull is the

vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the keel, with the
thickness of the hull included.

5. ___________________ is the distance from the waterline to the freeboard

deck of a fully loaded ship; it is measured amidships at the side of the hull. It
represents the safety margin showing to what depths a ship may be loaded
under various service conditions.

6. Read the following text, and explain what on an even keel might mean in
general, everyday English.



7. ____________________________ is the power delivered to the driving

shaft of an engine, as measured by a torsion meter.

Ship Particulars

Study the following diagrams, listen to the audio track, and then label
the diagram at the end.

For more diagrams like these, go to

Now listen to the audio in the following link, and label the diagram. general
arrangement van Kluijven.mp3?dl=0

Here are some video links that show the shipbuilding process.
A time-lapse video showing construction of the Maersk Line Triple-E.
How its made oil tanker ships
3D presentation of LNG gas tanker building

Grammar: Prepositions

Prepositions for Time, Place, and Introducing Objects

One point in time

On is used with days:

I will see you on Monday.
The week begins on Sunday.

At is used with noon, night, midnight, the time of day, and also specific
The meeting with the shipbroker is at noon.
The safety training starts at 18:00.
Seafarers miss their families when theyre at sea at Christmas.

In is used with other parts of the day, with months, with years, with seasons:

He likes to have meetings in the afternoon.

The Atlantic is calm in August.
The book on seafaring was published in 1999 its out of date.
Icebreakers are used most frequently in winter.

Fill in the blanks in a text on the Titanic:

The idea for the Titanic was born ______ 1907. Her keel was laid _______
March 31, 1909. Yard workers started work _______ 7:30 am, and ended
work _____ 5:30 pm, 5 days a week, plus half a day ________ Saturdays
throughout construction. They got two unpaid days off _____ Christmas and
Easter. They also had one unpaid week off _______ July.
______ the 10th of April 1912, ______ noon, the Titanic set off for Cherbourg,
France. Even though she didnt set sail ______ winter, there was still ice in
the sea-lanes on the way to New York. Sadly, she sank _____ the 15th of

Extended time

To express extended time, English uses the following prepositions: since, for,
by, fromto, from-until, during, (with)in

The stevedores have been on strike since yesterday. (They went on strike
yesterday and have not returned to work.)
I'm going on a cruise for two weeks. (I will spend two weeks on the ship.)
He worked on a container vessel from August to October. (Beginning in
August and ending in October.)
The northern ports were iced up from autumn until spring. (Beginning in
autumn and ending in spring.)
I stand watch during the night. (For some period of time in the night.)
We must finish the ships construction within a year. (No longer than a

Note: BY indicates a deadline eg. The ships construction must be complete

by December.
UNTIL indicates how long a period of time is available for something to
happen in eg. We have until December to complete the ships construction.
You can never say: The ships construction must be complete until December.

Circle the correct underlined preposition.

1. He planned to go on holiday for / by / until two weeks but they need him
back at work immediately.

2. Could you deliver the new shipment until / by / during the end of next
week? We need it before next Friday at the latest.

3. They had a cup of coffee and relaxed until / for / by a while before reporting
for the next watch.

4. The inspector from EMSA arrived on Tuesday and he'll be here for / until /
during the beginning of next week.

5. By / Until / During 8 p.m. I was completely exhausted but there was still a
lot to do, even though weve been in port until / since / during early this
6. I met her during / for / by my time in Budapest.


To express notions of place, English uses the following prepositions: in,

inside, on, at. Prepositions of place normally appear with verbs describing
states or conditions, especially be. Prepositions differ according to the number
of dimensions they refer to. We can group them into three classes using
concepts from geometry: point, surface, and area or volume.

Prepositions in this group indicate that the noun that follows them is treated as
a point in relation to which another object is positioned.

Prepositions in this group indicate that the position of an object is defined with
respect to a surface on which it rests.

Prepositions in this group indicate that an object lies within the boundaries of
an area or within the confines of a volume.
Notice that although in geometry surface and area go together because both
are two-dimensional, in grammar area and volume go together because the
same prepositions are used for both.

In light of these descriptions, at, on, and in (and inside) can be classified as

There are containers in the hold.

Put the perishable cargo inside the reefer.
The reefers need to go on the deck to allow easy access.
She was standing at the helm.

Note: In and on are also used with means of transportation: in is used with a
car, on with public or commercial means of transportation:
in the car
on the bus
on the plane
on the train
on the ship
Some speakers of English make a further distinction for public modes of
transportation, using in when the carrier is enclosed and stationary and on
when it is in motion.
My wife stayed in/on the bus while I got out at the rest stop.
The passengers sat in/on the plane awaiting takeoff.
The crew remained on the ship during loading. (The ship is not enclosed.)

Fill in the blank with in, on, or at.

1. Liquid cargoes are transported _____ tanks.

2. The superstructure is ______ the main deck.
3. The master compass is situated ______ the monkey island.
4. The anchor chain is stored _______ the chain locker.
5. The master is sitting _______ his desk _______ his cabin.
6. The officer of the watch is _______ the bridge.
7. The propulsion plant is located ______ the engine room.
8. Turn right ______ the messroom to get to the galley.