A Single Throat to Choke?

As we head into the heart of summer and many people take their vacations, the OSU shipyard staff are settling in at Gulf Island for the long road ahead.  The shipyard, meanwhile, has been busy finalizing a number of important subcontracts with their “Single Source Vendors” or SSVs.

There will be several SSVs that will work for the shipyard and will be the single point for responsibility for such things as Over the Side Handling equipment (all the winches, controls, frames, etc),  the propulsion system, the bridge and navigation control system, and the underwater acoustic systems.  The concept behind the SSV is that there is one company that will be solely responsible for the work that not only they are providing, but their sub contractors as well.

We’ve learned from other projects that simply using a “Single Source Integrator” doesn’t provide the teeth necessary to efficiently resolve conflicts that may arise between different vendors.  For example, think of your house. Imagine you’re installing new drywall and having it painted. But, unfortunately when the project is done the seams in the drywall look terrible.  The drywaller blames the painter for using cheap paint, and the painter blames the drywalled for poor workmanship.  However, if there was a general contractor  who was solely responsible for all the work, it would be his responsibility to find a way to fix the problem.  I heard someone (not from OSU or the shipyard, by the way) at the kickoff meeting use the term “single throat to choke.”  Though that’s a bit extreme, it gets the point across.  It’s just a very clear method to assign responsibility for the most important and risky aspects of our research ship construction.  In a future post, once the contracts are finalized, I’ll announce who the SSVs will be.

Also this week, we met with a subset of our Science Oversight Committee to address a niggling issue that is very important to them. Basically, the issue has to do with our removable second winch on our Winch Deck (also called the O-1 level).  The science community was adamant that the winch we have specified can not support science operations that they envision the RCRVs should be able to perform.  The winch can not go deep enough with 2000m of .322 EM cable. Their strong preference is that it contain 7000m of .322.  Only then, they maintain, can it act as a true backup winch for our CTD operations, and allow science packages to go to required depths along the continental rise and other areas.

Although we’d love to support this, it’s not so simple as just adding a bigger drum with more wire.  Everything, and I mean everything in ship design, is a trade off.  Adding the additional capability will add up to 5000lbs to an area above the vessel’s center of gravity.  This will affect the ship’s stability and the added weight itself will cause problems to the vessel’s trim calculations.  So… we’re going to look at it.  Fingers crossed we can find a viable solution.  Our friends at the Glosten associates will be looking into this in the weeks ahead.

Ok. That’ll do it for this week.  As always, please feel free to drop in a question or a comment (even if you read this post months from now…).  Thanks for reading.

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About Demian Bailey

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2 Responses to A Single Throat to Choke?

  1. Bill Fanning says:

    Hi Demian,

    It is more accurate to say that “Their [the SOC] preference is that it contain 10,000m of .322.” The SOC considers 7000 meters a minimum.

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