Considering the over abundance of conferences and exhibitions that grace the marine industry’s business calendar, I am pleased to report on the activities of the Ship Operations Cooperative
Program (SOCP), which most recently met on the scenic campus of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. SOCP — which is a business/government partnership — provides a fresh dialogue among industry players with discussions focused on real-world issues and solutions. June’s meeting featured a number of topics, from alternative fuel technologies to a ferry operator panel, which discussed regulation, training, safety and technology. A more extensive account of the meeting will be found in MR/EN’s August edition, U.S. Report. For more information on the group and its meetings, I encourage you to visit www.socp.org.
While the marine business continues to be characterized as one that is conservative in regards to the technology it incorporates, I strongly disagree. A read through this edition, in fact, illustrates many examples of how advanced technology is shaping and re-shaping the industry every day. Starting with the Gulf of Mexico Offshore Report, it is no small issue that the latest round of good business prospects is being driven by and supported with advanced technology, from the ability to discover and recover resources in increasingly deeper waters, to the ability to place production facilities on station and seamlessly transport the product back to shore. The Diesel Power Annual starts with a report from Alan Haig-Brown on how a small company — Westar Marine — is capitalizing on California’s Carl Moyer Program to re-power its fleet of 14 vessels, reducing NOx and improving performance. Advances in propulsion, however, is not limited to the diesel engine realm, as David Tinsley reports — on the tremendous headway being made with the increasing variety of podded propulsion systems available today. Though there have been a few well-reported technical glitches with some systems, it is widely agreed that the operational advantages — which include unparalleled maneuverability, increased propulsion efficiency and improved safety — will ensure the product’s viability in a wide range of marine applications.
The U.S. demand for some of the most technologically advanced commercial vessels afloat — LNG carriers — is set to take off, if results of a recent Lloyd’s Register survey are complete.
There is a small news item, received at press time, which says that up to 75 new LNG carriers
could be needed for U.S. operation in the next decade. This report — which will be expanded upon in the August edition — follows on our June World Yearbook report (“Frozen Gas Market Heats Up,” page 50, June 2001).