Sea Transport Design Techniques

ship design techniques


Sea Transport Solutions’ CEO, Ross Ballantyne, gave a technical presentation on Queensland’s Gold Coast last year describing some of the ship design techniques used when producing optimum vessel type, size, speed and operation method for commercial transport.

In his presentation, Mr. Ballantyne stated that the technique is focused on the revenue deadweight of the vessel. Revenue deadweight is the deadweight that vessel operators are being paid to carry, such as cars, trucks and passengers – excluding items such as fuel, water and ballast. Firstly, a review is undertaken of the proposed capabilities of the vessel, including speed, range, operational costs, capital costs and sea-state limitations etc. These capabilities are then deconstructed into revenue units and compared to the lightship weight of the vessel. Comparisons are then made with the vessel’s currently operating within the operating market, including both new and second-hand, which are then plotted on a graph to determine the most suitable vessel for the intended operation.


This technique is used across for all STS client who is interested in any form of marine operation and ultimately solves the question “whose vessel is better?” with supporting figures that focus on the optimum solution for the intended operation.


When STS is asked to find a better solution than what is existing, the technique used focused on finding the faults of the current vessel and how the operation as whole can be simplified.

The example used in Mr. Ballantyne’s presentation was the conventional landing craft, which is often found to have the following faults:

  • Poor head-sea capability due to the bluff bow
  • Poor stability due to low freeboard and low profile of GZ curve
  • Poor visibility due to the forward bow ramp
  • Poor beaching and de-beaching ability due to forefoot suction on the sea bed as well as inefficient propellers while in reverse
  • Operator discomfort and fatigue due to the vibration and noise caused by the machinery room located directly under wheelhouse
  • Ballast is required due to the box-shaped hull and propellers that must be immersed. This results in additional machinery that will need to be maintained.

In comparison, a stern landing craft designed by STS offers:

  • Improved sea capabilities and speed due to a finer bow and hull shape
  • A shallow V hull with two side pods, shafts that are off-centre and beaching-protection aft skeg arrangement that improves that improves de-beaching and propeller efficiency
  • Good forward vision thanks to the high forward superstructure that also helps protect cargo from seaspray
  • The superstructure is far from the engine room, reducing vibration and noise for the operator
  • A V-shaped hull that eliminates the need for ballast and therefore less machinery power and reduced maintenance
  • Cheaper capital and lower operational costs