Hull: The Armor of Ships
Technically and economically, hulls are a paramount design consideration in shipbuilding. Hulls determine a ship’s structural integrity, safety, and stability while contributing about 20% of the ship’s total cost. Remember, ships transport over 90% of globally traded cargo through 90,000 cargo ships.
Erika Tanker Failed in 1999 due to a Weakened Structure
With corrosion, fatigue cracks are the main cause for failure of ships, railway tank-cars, and road tankers. Fatigue cracks can grow in a branched or curved manner different from the shape in which they are formed. Repairs are not always viable in view of exorbitant maintenance expenses.
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Image “Signing The Register” courtesy of Sharron Goodyear at
How’s this for an unforgettable wedding? Norwegian Cruise Line is now offering legal weddings at sea!

It’s a dream come true for couples wanting to tie the knot on board a beautiful Norwegian cruise ship. For the first time, Norwegian Cruise Line will be offering legally-recognized wedding packages for the Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway this April, and on the Escape when it debuts later this year. The ceremony will be performed by the ship’s captain, with a marriage license provided by the Bahamas.

The Wedding at Sea package, offered at $2,199, will be inclusive of a wedding coordinator to assist with arrangements, a bridal bouquet, a boutonniere for the groom, a champagne toast, a Bistro dinner for two and of course, a wedding cake. Prior to the legal wedding at sea option, couples had to marry on shore and present a marriage certificate for an onboard ceremony to take place.

Also on the cruise line’s marital offerings are symbolic / non-legal ceremonies (offered at $1,799), destination weddings set in ports of call and points of embarkation, and ceremonies along the harbor. These harborside and destination weddings vary in price depending on the location. In Juneu, Alaska, for example, a harborside ceremony would cost about $2,195, but there are more expensive areas at the port of call where a ceremony can be held, such as the Rainforest Gardens or even a Glacier.

Same-sex couples will be thrilled to know there are also wedding options available for them, on itineraries with destinations that recognize same-sex marriage under local law. 

Norwegian now joins other cruise lines offering weddings at sea, such as Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard Line and Princess Cruises. For more information on how to avail of Norwegian’s offerings and what they include, visit

Chrusciel, Brittany. “Norwegian Cruise Line Offers Weddings at Sea, Includes Same-Sex Ceremonies.” Cruise Critic, 02 Apr 2015. Web. 10 Apr 2015.
Lakshmi, Aiswarya. “Norwegian Launches Legal Weddings at Sea.”, 04 Apr 2015. Web. 10 Apr 2015.
Norwegian Cruise Line. Wedding Brochure. Web. Accessed 10 Apr 2015.
“Norwegian Cruise Line offers weddings at sea.” Travel Weekly, 02 Apr 2015. Web. 10 Apr 2015.
Satchell, Arlene. “Norwegian Cruise Line offers legal weddings at sea.” Sun Sentinel, 03 Apr 2015. Web. 10 Apr 2015.
Stieghorst, Tom. “Here comes the bride! Norwegian to offer weddings.” USA Today, 03 Apr 2015. Web. 10 Apr 2015.
10 years after the tragic hurricane claimed 1,800 lives and displaced 400,000 people… is the United States better equipped to handle a storm of Katrina’s magnitude?
Image “Rain Cloud” courtesy of pakorn at
August 25, 2005. 10 years ago, one of the most devastating hurricanes ever to hit US soil makes landfall. After just a few days, the effects of the Category-5 storm is revealed to be almost unimaginable; 1,800 people are dead and 400,000 are displaced. Photo and video coverage from the media show the particularly desperate plight of the citizens of New Orleans, a city 80% of which was submerged in water.

Orders for a mandatory evacuation were delayed. New Orleans’ levees could only withstand category 3 storms. The state of Louisiana had limited resources for rescues and aid. The federal government waited on a state request for assistance before acting on the situation. Looting and violence broke out in the city, from both opportunistic criminal elements and ordinary citizens just trying their best to survive when aid seemed distant and bleak.
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One of the biggest issues of our generation is illegal or irregular migration. The maritime industry is especially touched by this issue, as our wide stretches of waters are difficult to protect and are thus, vulnerable to unmonitored or illicit movement. The water has been the chosen route for many people fleeing wars or hardship in their countries—from Cuban people sailing to America, to African and Middle Eastern refugees heading to Europe via Italy, for example.

Often, immigrant traffic comes by way of rickety vessels that are barely seaworthy, or on overloaded ships; this is a major problem in Europe, where thousands are said to have drowned last year while trying to cross the Mediterranean. Others cross borders as stowaways on ships, or are trafficked as human cargo. Kemplon Engineering reports on recent instances of stowaways, and the new dangers they present in a conflicted world.

According to the International Maritime Organization, stowaways are persons secreted onto a ship or as cargo loaded onto a ship, without the knowledge of those responsible for the vessel, and who are later detected after departure and reported to authorities.

The dangers and negative consequences of stowaways are widely known. First, the lives of stowaways are in danger if they are in hiding and have to survive subhuman conditions with little food or water provisions. The security of vessels are also at risk, with unknown persons present and possibly in areas sensitive to operations. Upon their discovery, ships can also expect delays and additional work as stowaways are reported and processed. Finally, for countries and ports, the repatriation of stowaways can be costly.

There are, however, other dangers emerging from the problem of stowaways. In January, the Dutch Navy reported they had discovered stowaways on a ship that had delivered aid to Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa. Luckily, they had no symptoms of this terrifying, viral disease—but the risk the country could have faced if the men were ill cannot be plainer.

Aside from disease control, the problem of stowaways may herald another danger: terrorism. Suspicious stowaways were encountered on a Ro-Ro heading to Turkey, where they allegedly meant to go from Istanbul and on to Syria to join ISIS or another militant group. What concerns authorities is not only that stowaways like these could be strengthening the region’s militant groups… they may also use the route to return radicalized, becoming a threat after training and fighting for extremists groups.

In a late 2014 incident, intercepted at the port of Dover leaving Britain last November was a truck carrying: a terror suspect who allegedly had records for orders of millions’ worth of ammunition; and a couple of Britons allegedly intending to join and fight for the Islamic State in Syria.

Another risk is that jihadists may send militiamen into tumultuous Libya, from which they can cross the Mediterranean among the thousands of migrants heading to Europe.

Tensions and fear are high in so many parts of our globe. There is already an increasing sense of fear, xenophobia and racism, as many migrants are regarded with suspicion and even derision in the countries they desperately run to. In these situations, we must remember that many of them truly are helplessly fleeing the dire situations of their homelands, and they deserve our sympathy and humanitarian aid. But that does not mean we should be blind to the dangers presented by frenzied flows of humanity. The difficult question facing our authorities now is, how to balance compassion with safety and control.

Associated Press. “Dutch Navy Find 3 Stowaways on Ship that Delivered Ebola Aid.”, 20 Jan 2015. Web. 28 Feb 2015.
Camber, Rebecca. “A Libyan 'arms dealer' carrying order for £18million of ammunition, two British 'jihadis' and 17 illegal migrants... all found in one lorry leaving Dover!.” Mail Online, 16 Dec 2014. Web. 28 Feb 2015.
International Maritime Organization. “Stowaways.” Web. Accessed 28 Feb 2015.
Sherlock, Ruth and Colin Freeman. “Islamic State 'planning to use Libya as gateway to Europe'.” The Telegraph, 17 Feb 2015. Web. 28 Feb 2015.
“Suspicious Stowaways Possibly ISIS-Connected.” Maritime Executive, 21 Feb 2015. Web. 28 Feb 2015.
Watch out, cruise industry! Carnival Cruise Lines is launching their biggest cruise ship yet, the Carnival Vista. It promises to be “the future of fun” with fresh features never before seen at sea. Not slated for a debut until the spring of 2016, anticipation for the new cruise ship is nevertheless ‘sky high,’ as announcements are made on what passengers can expect aboard the ship.

“The Future of Fun” is looking very bright with Carnival Vista’s highly anticipated, unprecedented features. The 4,000-passenger cruise ship will have the first IMAX Theater on the high seas, a brewery on board, and an attraction called the SkyRide.

The SkyRide is a hanging, open-air bike ride 150 feet above the sea, pedal-powered by a passenger to go round an 800-foot long suspended track. If this daring brand of outdoor fun is not for you, Carnival also provides a fantastic array of indoor attractions, with the Vista introducing the first ever IMAX Theater at sea, for full-on entertainment featuring current and classic releases on a screen three decks high.

The Carnival Vista’s inaugural sailing will be departing from Italy on a 13-night itinerary. It has been years since Carnival had a ship in Europe, and from how things look, Carnival Vista is determined to make a high-impact return. The vessel is scheduled for 19 sailings in the area, with voyages taking the ship to and from ports in Italy, Spain, Greece, France, Malta, Croatia and Turkey.

The 133,500-ton ship is currently being built in Italy, at the famed Fincantieri shipyard. After its launching season in Europe, the Vista will sail on a 13-night crossing to New York, have a few sailings departing from the city, and eventually have Miami as its homeport late in 2016.

Captain Greybeard. “Cruise news: Carnival reveal newest and biggest ship Vista with first IMAX cinema at sea.” Mirror, 23 Jan 2015. Web. 04 Feb 2015.
Lipsey, Sid. “10 Things You Need to Know About Carnival's Massive New Ship.” Yahoo! Travel, 24 Jan 2015. Web. 04 Feb 2015.
Saltzman, Dori. “Carnival to Homeport Its Largest Cruise Ship in Miami.” Cruise Critic, 03 Feb 2015. Web. 04 Feb 2015.
Saltzman, Dori. “New Carnival Cruise Ship to Feature First IMAX at Sea, Aerial Cycling Ride and Onboard Brewery.” Cruise Critic, 22 Jan 2015. Web. 04 Feb 2015.
Sampson, Hannah. “Launching in Europe, Carnival Vista to include onboard IMAX, brewery.” Miami Herald, 22 Jan 2015. Web. 04 Feb 2015.

Tribou, Richard. “IMAX, elevated bike ride coming to new Carnival Vista.” Orlando Sentinel, 23 Jan 2015. Web.
Image: Screen capture. Carnival Cruise Lines. Web. Accessed 04 Feb 2015.
2014’s Sewol ferry sinking in South Korea led to almost 300 deaths. In 2012, Costa Concordia ran aground in Italy, claiming 32 lives. The wheels of justice for those harmed and hurt by these tragedies are still turning this 2015, as courts on opposite sides of the globe continue to deliberate and decide on the fate of the persons considered accountable for these heartbreaking incidents. Kemplon Engineering reports on the latest legal developments faced by the Captain of the South Korean Coast Guard during Sewol’s botched rescue attempt; and Costa Concordia’s notorious Captain Schettino.
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It’s a tense situation the media has compared to nothing less than the Cold War—Sweden is on the hunt for a foreign object that has repeatedly been spotted in its sovereign waters.  Theories include the unwelcome presence of a Russian submarine, which has led to the inevitable reference to the classic book and film “The Hunt for Red October.” But after a weeklong operation involving a massive military mobilization and days of capturing the public’s rapt attention, what have the authorities discovered? Kemplon Engineering takes a look at the intriguing developments around a strange incident people have come to refer to, cleverly, as the ‘hunt for Reds in October.’
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