Ship Design: Student Creations put to the Test

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

June 28, 2019

Photo: MARIN

Photo: MARIN

Four winning school classes attended  the prizegiving of the ‘design your ship for the future’ competition at MARIN (Netherlands Maritime Research Institute). The winning ship, with the shape of a sailfish, a retractable sail, a frictionless shark skin and a flexible moving tail was  tested in one of MARIN’s model basins.

This competition started last year when MARIN tested its 10,000th  ship model. MARIN President Bas Buchner: “To celebrate the 10,000th model landmark we didn’t want to look, back but to look forward. So we asked schoolchildren to design clean, smart and safe ships for the future. And what a great result: a container ship in the form of a sailfish with nets to catch containers at risk of falling overboard. For such a great idea you need children.”

Almost a hundred school classes and children participated in the competition. In some classes, the children worked together on a design, and in other classes, everyone made their own design. MARIN received all sorts of great ideas, drawings and short videos including ships with solar panels, sails, wind turbines and hydrogen engines for clean propulsion, floating hospitals for marine animals, cruise ships with amusement parks, chill rooms and escape rooms, and smart self-navigating ships with cameras and radars.

In the end, MARIN did not choose one winner but brought together the best ideas from the different school classes to design a ship for the future. 

For this design, a scale model was built that was tested today in the test facilities at MARIN. Bas Buchner: “It was great that the schoolchildren looked to nature for inspiration: a streamlined fish shape, the retractable sail of the sailfish, a frictionless shark skin and a flexible tail. The sail also comprises solar panels and thus has a double function. And what a good idea to attach nets to the ship to prevent containers falling into the sea. That idea came after a container ship lost more than 300 containers overboard near the Wadden Islands off the Dutch coast on  January 2, this year. A solution to consider. And the ship looks fantastic.”

Each school class was given a model of the ship for the future for their classroom.

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