A New Ship - A New Future
The idea of a single multifunctional ship to replace ilt Granuaile has been on our minds from the time ilt Gray Seal was taken out of service. Conceptual studies submitted by various design houses have given us an insight into modern technology and propulsion systems.
The process of developing and building a new vessel has many complex facets beyond straightforward technical research, such as the legal aspects of tendering procedures, and the choice of the most suitable designers and consultants.
Whatever design is decided upon, we cannot afford to make mistakes in the specification and requirements.
Earlier in 1996 a design development team, comprising professional marine staff, was formed. At the beginning of October we received the go ahead for the design project. As deadlines are approached, the pressure on the design team will increase greatly. I am gratified by the commitment and professionalism with which team members have responded.
The secondment of Harry McClenahan as project co-ordinator has proved most valuable. His assistance with design research will be of great benefit throughout the project as we must be aware of all the types of equipment, machinery systems, and control arrangements available in order to assess their suitability.
Visits to design houses, dockyards, propulsion exhibitions, and similar type ships have assisted the design team in finding out which new technologies have been successful and which systems are causing problems.
A visit to the United States Coast Guard cutter Juniper was especially informative. It was very interesting to observe how our fellow mariners in the United States approach operations similar to those in which we are involved.
The team has been examining all aspects of functional and operational matters. Considering that collectively we have almost two hundred and fifty years of sea- going experience between us, I believe we can cover all the relevant issues on time.
Of course, all of our operational seagoing staff have a role to play in the project and I appreciate the ideas they have suggested. I see the project as a dynamic conceptual development up to the day the final specifications are submitted to the builders.
The responsibility to assure the functional efficiency of this vessel will lie not just with myself and the design team members but with all her crew. Changes in technology and operational procedures will affect everyone.
We must look forward not only to a new ship and a new future, but also to a new beginning for our seafaring personnel.