Naval architect makes design breakthrough

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 September, 2008, 12:00am
 

While efficiency remains the ultimate goal of port operators and shipping companies, the local and global shipping and maritime community is also working continuously to enhance safety, security and environmental standards.

With a career spanning five decades and a series of honours and worldwide recognition for his designs, Hong Kong naval architect Peter Cheng is credited with one of the most significant breakthroughs in environmental ship design in recent years for the improvements he made to the structure of Capesize bulk carriers that are too large to traverse the Suez or Panama canals and must round the Cape of Good Hope.

Affectionately known by the China Ship News, the catch-all newspaper covering the China shipbuilding industry, as the 'father of the Capesize bulk carrier in China', Dr Cheng implemented his 'Green Cape' concept, which prevents pollution by ballast water as well as fuel and lubricating oils. By repositioning the fuel tanks, Dr Cheng also succeeded in reducing the time it takes to 'trim' a bulk carrier and improved even-keel sailing.

His first 'Green Cape' bulk carrier was built in 2000, at the Waigaoqiao shipyard near Shanghai, long before the International Maritime Organisation introduced new design standards for controlling the disposal of ballast water at sea. To date, Waigaoqiao has received orders for more than 80 new construction contracts for Dr Cheng's 'Green Cape' bulk carriers.

Jeremy Ho Shiu-fai, honorary treasurer for mechanical, marine, naval architecture and chemical division and member of professional assessment committee at the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE), said marine engineers and naval architects played a key role in furthering environmental performance. In naval architecture the latest trends are more efficient hull design, wind-powered cruise ships, faster energy efficient ferries, hi-tech yachts and larger, more luxurious passenger ships. For marine engineers the trends include installing and maintaining performance efficient engines, reducing emissions and using alternative fuels such as liquefied natural gas.

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