Future of ships


for smaller ships my guess is it will be containerized power, gens sets or fuel cells etc.
just unload and reload at each port along with fuel.
Saying that my shipping buddies are saying the crew cost is no longer significant to warrant removing them


I can’t see how you’d really reliably automate the 2-stroke and multiple residual fuels paradigm, and that combination probably pays for most crews. I’m not even sure removing Americans would cover the cost of a more reliable propulsion option.


That’s a point I’ve been making for a long time. The crew costs are less than $50 per container. Who cares? It’s virtually nothing.

For foreign crew on a 20,000 TEU ship the crew cost is probably less than $1 per container.

The big labor cost is the longshoremen !


And they just got a fat new contract in the US.


We can all have dreams of winning a lottery or becoming a container crane driver at LA.


Yes but those Container cranes are getting automated rapidly around the world. There are probably less job security there than being Engineer on a ship with a single slow turning diesel. There will likely be some of those sailing the oceans until 2050, when the goal of zero pollution from ships are expected to be reached.


I wish you were right about that. I really do.

But the eff’in longshoremen have been successful at fighting off automation and grabbing most of the marine transportation dollars for a long time.

The typical longshoreman has an 8th grade education and make $144,000 per year plus lavish benefits. And he gets to go home every day. They have the last effective (far too effective) workers union in the US.


Yup. Anywhere else in the world I go you might find 4 people on the dock per crane and an operator. In the US there are at least a dozen and most of them are sitting on their ass. They complain non stop and play little games like work slow downs that play havoc with the ships schedule. I’m a fairly pro union kind of guy but the longshoremen are not on my Christmas gift list which is all the more troubling since the union I belong to is affiliated with them. I’ve never once felt a kinship to the guys on the dock in the US. They’re more of a pain in the Chief Mates ass than an asset in my opinion.


I remember what longshoremen looked like, and what they could do, 40 years ago. There are some good longshoremen today, but watching some of these overpaid know-nothing freaks pretend to work is sickening.


I remember during annual hull surveys of containerships, finding longshoremen sleeping on the outboard side against the tank vents. . . .just made my method of testing that the ball checks were free all the more enjoyable. . . .


A new step towards autonomous shipping. Norwegian ferry earlier used to test wireless charging and auto-docking now also completed succesfully auto-crossing under supervision of norwegian maritime directorate.



And they were so thick you probably caught more than one.


I would check the vents by kicking them with the heel of my boot, to hear the ball rattle around. . . quite a jolt for a sleeping longshoreman. . . . “Oh, I didn’t see you. . .so sorry. . . .”


Worlds first intelligent VLOC delivered:

Will smart ship class soon become the norm for new vessels?? Your opinion?


Autonomous ships crossing oceans by 2030??:


Yet one more company demonstrate their ability to automate ships.
This time it is ABB who remotely controlled a pax ferry in Finland:

Their aim is apparently not to develop unmanned ships, only to automate the operation to “help the skilled crews in their tasks”.

If you need to have crew on board a cargo ship crossing oceans autonomously, or as a remote controlled drone, that means that the ship requires living quarters and all the amenities to go with it.

As far as I can see, that does not serve the purpose, or justify the cost of automation. It MAY increase safety of navigation, but does not do away with any other risk factors.

Proving up the ability to either operate the navigation and docking process autonomously, or by remote control on small ships in restricted waters serves a purpose in the development phase.

But for ocean crossing you also need to prove that the propulsion system can operate autonomously and reliably for extended periods, otherwise it defeats the purpose. (Lower costs, less equipment requiring maintenance and less risk to human limbs and lives)


Sail making a comeback, this will be interesting:


I wonder what they’ve been smoking. That’s not a lot of sail.


I think two things would have to happen for sail to become economically practical on any significant scale:

  1. Fuel would need to become extremely expensive to burn (perhaps, a combination of very high fuel prices and very stringent emissions restrictions), and

  2. The volume of world trade would have to drop to a small fraction of what it is today.

I don’t think either of those things can happen without some exceptional and overwhelming event (wiping out a large portion of World population).


Some voyages would be OK because the vessel would be running before the prevailing wind.
A voyage from Australia or New Zealand to San Francisco is a bit harder heading north to up near Guam before heading East following the old square rigged passage.
Tugsailor is right on I think there has been 6 billion people born since I was.