Webb's First Sabbatical Draws To A Close

Professor George Petrie is returning from a one-semester sabbatical leave, having spent the past half-year living in mainland China. During that time, he visited several shipyards in the Shanghai, Dalian and Yantai areas of the country; and attended many conferences and exhibitions, spreading the word about Webb to all who would listen. A special word of thanks goes to ABS for facilitating the shipyard visits, and to their many surveyors who gave generously of their time to act as hosts and tour guides. Along the way, Professor Petrie spent some time with Webb alums Matt Fox (‘04) and Kristin Jarecki (‘08), both of whom are working for ABS as ship surveyors in the Shanghai area. 

Details of the trip are too numerous to mention here, but one of the high points was a visit to the new DACOS shipyard in Dalian, a joint venture that brings together Chinese shipping giant COSCO and the Japanese  powerhouse, Kawasaki. Blending Japanese experience and technology with the favorable labor rates and economic muscle that China can deliver, the new venture should be a formidable competitor in years to come. During the upcoming semester Professor Petrie will make a full presentation to the student body, and information gained during his sabbatical will be integrated into future coursework related to ship design and production. 

To maintain continuity in the academic program during his sabbatical, Professor Petrie also delivered three lectures each week in the (junior) Ship Structures course and in the (senior) Structural Design course, with fellow-professor Matt Werner mentoring during the lab sessions in each course. Being Webb’s first long-term experience in delivering ‘distance learning’ it was not without some minor growing pains, but overall the outcome was successful — and provided some valuable lessons learned for future endeavors. 

Dwarfed by a massive 20,000MT crane that straddles a 380-m by 120-m dry dock at Yantai CIMC Raffles shipyard, the 325-m by 39-m Saipem CastorOne will become the largest pipe-laying vessel in the world.