Home' Work Boat World : January 2010 Contents © BAIRD PUBLICATIONS LTD 2010
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Chairman and Editor-in-Chief: Neil Baird
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Assistant Editor: Caleb Samson BA
Pre-Press: Peter Hands
ADELAIDE: Jon Wallis; AUCKLAND: Peter
Morgan; BANGKOK: Kanakporn Sapraset;
Sathita U-Samran; BEIJING: Jia Yong Zhi;
BRISBANE: Bill Beecham, Dick Lee; DALIAN: Tina
Haishen; COLOMBO: S Mahendran;
FREMANTLE: Mike Brown; GUANGZHOU: Julia
Wang; HANOI: Ngo Khac Le; HOBART: Guy
Anderson; MANILA: Roger Tritton; MILAN:
Stefano Fermi; SAINT PETERSBURG: Yuri
Seleznev; SEATTLE: Mark Clevenger; SHANGHAI:
Graham Thompson; SOFIA: Krasimir Krastanov;
SIBU: Eddie Puah; SYDNEY: Terry Gorman;
TOKYO: Ikuya Ohtagaki, VANCOUVER:
Campbell Baird; VLADIVOSTOK: Vladimir
Fridyev; WUHAN: Yu Zhixiao.
Daphne Cham Ming Sheung LLB, PostGrad Dip Mgt.
135 Sturt Street, Southbank,
Melbourne 3006, Australia.
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Asia / Australasia/ Middle East /
Western north America
Ajit Singh BE MBA
Europe / Africa / Eastern north America /
Shireen Chai BSc
Liu Xiaosu (Sue) LLB, MIB
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As has become customary over the last few years, this, our January issue,
presents our choice of the most interesting and impressive vessels we have
reviewed during the previous calendar year.
This choice is a very difficult and contentious task. It is fraught with the possibility
of offending old friends and regular advertisers.
Nevertheless, we persist. The work boat world is a very competitive and very global
one. All of its component shipbuilders -- or almost all -- are continually striving to
design and build better boats.
Obviously, covering, as we do, a wide spread of work boat industry sectors on a
global basis, we can and do strive to present a wide spread of different kinds of vessels.
This, equally obviously, is not always easy to achieve as quite often one sector will be
notably more progressive than any of the others at any one particular time.
We do try -- very hard -- to be objective. Our most important parameters are
innovation, utility, economy, environmental soundness, safety, seaworthiness and
appearance. Try applying all those to the more than 170 vessels we reviewed in 2009! It
really isn't easy but we believe that all these innovative and interesting vessels richly
deserve their second day in the sun.
That is the painful part of our job. The pleasurable bit is that we get to look again at
so many new and different craft. We appreciate anew the talent, inspiration and
perspiration that have gone into the design, construction and equipping of these vessels.
Naval architecture, ship building and marine engineering are, in my view, just as
much arts as sciences. That certainly is very clearly displayed in most of the boats in our
New hull shapes, new propulsion systems, new electronics, new equipment, and,
even new construction materials all made appearances in 2009. This innovation and
artistry all helps to improve the breed.
If you really think about it, work boats are just tools. What is especially interesting and
inspiring, though, is that such a significant proportion of them are built as one-offs or, at
least, in short runs. Much more inspiring, of course, than aircraft or trucks, for example.
This is where the artistry continues to come into focus. In that sense they are rather
more like buildings than machines.
Naturally, the bigger the budget the more likelihood that there will be inspired artistry.
The offshore service vessel (OSV) sector, generally, has benefitted from the biggest budgets
of late so there, of course, is where most of the more inspiring vessels have been created.
Almost every sector has produced some very impressive vessels. The wider industry
will benefit from those. There is quite a lot of cross fertilisation of ideas across the
sectors. That improves the breed generally.
So, while you may well disagree with some of our choices for our Top 20, we hope
that they will at least make you think. The basic purpose of this magazine is to produce
ideas and inspiration of benefit to work boat owners and operators. We trust that our
Top 20 vessels of 2009 has again done that.
Like many other interested and involved observers, I was disappointed but not
surprised by the effective insolvency of Dubai Inc. that was announced just
before I wrote this.
I must admit that although I had been predicting for at least three years that this
would be in the inevitable result of the emirate's crazed, out-of-control development
and borrowing, we at Baird Maritime have still been stung by one or two bad debts.
I can only blame my own carelessness. At least we weren't caught by the similar
collapse in Iceland, which I also clearly saw coming.
The coming recovery in Dubai will no doubt be aided by its much richer and more
cautious neighbours. Their patience has been sorely tried of late by Dubai's mad
extravagance but they will have little choice but to help.
We should be careful, of course, not to write off the prospects of all the Gulf states
on the basis of the profligacy of Dubai. Most of the other states are much more
responsibly and sensibly managed. They will survive reasonably prosperously even if
they are singed a bit by the Dubai burn out.
The Gulf , generally, still has enormous potential as far as the work boat industry
is concerned. The Dubai bust should provide some good opportunities for careful,
far-sighted operators with reasonably deep pockets.
Work Boat World's "Top Twenty"
EDITORIAL JANUARY 2010
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