Cooperative Research Ships 1969-2019

The years 1969-2019 establish a half-century where mankind has achieved enormous technological progress in many areas, such as aviation (fly-by-wire), space exploration (Apollo 11, Hubble), computing (microprocessors), biology (Human Genome Project) and quantum mechanics (Standard Model particle detection). In the area of shipping and shipbuilding the technological ‘leap forward’ may seem less spectacular at first sight, but a closer look reveals that the achievements in this branch of industry are equally impressive.

Ed van Daalen,


ith roughly 5,000 years of shipping and shipbuilding – against a mere 100 years of aviation and space travel – it is not surprising that developments in

this area in the past 50 years have been mostly evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Nevertheless, we have seen quite a few significant changes: Containerships have altered the face of shipping, including the character of port cities, and have had a huge impact on world trade and our way of life, at least for the majority of the world’s population. Today, about 90% of non-bulk cargo worldwide is transported by containerships, and the largest can carry over 21,000 TEU. Gross tonnage of cruise ships has increased from 70,000 GT to over 220,000 GT, with huge implications on the design and operation of not only the ship itself, but also on the ports of call. Podded propulsors improved the steerability of many vessel types, from yachts to cruise ships. Unmistakably, ship transport is safer and cleaner than 50 years ago, where the volumes have increased way beyond expectations.

And how was CRS involved in these developments? 12 report

The early years: sowing the seeds CRS took its first steps in the Large Tankers project (LT, 1969), addressing problems originating from the ever-increasing size of tankers. The research was coordinated by three panels, named ‘Resistance & Propulsion’, ‘Strength, Vibrations & Seakeeping’, and ‘Steering & Manoeuvring’. Joint research was continued in the High-Powered Large Ships project (HPLS, 1975), covering performance, cavitation and propeller-induced cavitation forces, while aiming at fundamental knowledge and extending the scope to other ship types. The Amoco Cadiz ran aground in 1978; in the same year, the Segregated Ballast Tankers project was started (SBT, 1978). Growing interest in the arctic areas gave rise to the Ships in Ice-Covered Waters project (ICE, 1980). The Design for Service project (DES, 1984) examined ship performance and behaviour in service conditions. Clearly, right from the start, research was extremely diverse and strongly linked to developments in shipping and shipbuilding.

1980s, 1990s and 2000s: further expansion and tool development Most of the seeds planted in the early

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