HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014
Ark angels
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, December 11, 2012
First Published: 19:12 IST(11/12/2012)
Last Updated: 19:16 IST(11/12/2012)
Designing ships: Naval architects deal with the design, construction, maintenance and operation of marine vessels and structures

The lowdown

Naval architects are a few among the countless who design, develop and repair watercraft, and other structures such as hydrofoils and oil drilling platforms. They design basic structure (hull geometry), make the final design and do stability calculations, supervise and survey construction, maintenance and repair of these vessels and structures, among other activities. While building a ship, architects have to ensure the vessels are safe even in severe weather conditions, can carry maximum load and have a long life. They can be employed by  four Ministry of Defence shipyards, i.e. Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL), Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL), Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Limited (GRSE) and Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL). Others include Cochin Shipyard Limited (Ministry of Surface Transport), private shipyards, shipping companies, boat builders, classification societies and government bodies. “There is a requirement for naval architects but the government is sitting idle on procurement,” says Harish C Narula, chairman, Fibroplast Marine, Noida.

The average day of a naval architect in a drawing office, shipbuilding yard or ship repair yard:
8.30am: Check reports from sites, identify bottlenecks, prepare the information matrix for the day and compare with the bigger picture of the job
9.30am: Meet people in various departments to deal with difficulties related to manpower, material, machinery or any other aspect of the working space
11.30am: In the drawing office or at production floor, check drawings, calculations carried out by subordinates. Check progress of the work and give ideas
1pm: Lunch
2pm: Do a follow-up
3pm: Review the progress covering daily, weekly and monthly status. Hold group discussions
4pm: Assess achievements of the day, reschedule the priorities based on the planned milestones
5.30pm: Reports, briefs and plans for the next day. At shipbuilding or ship repair yards, check status of work, depute workers on next shift as required, assess safety and health issues
6.30pm: Back home

During sea trials or harbour trials of vessels, round-the-clock work is required, for which deployment schedules are made on the basis of type of trials

The payoff
A diploma holder can earn Rs. 15,000 onwards per month. A fresh engineer with four-year degree can get Rs. 25,000 a month. The sky is the limit for an entrepreneur with training and experience in the field can

* Scientific temperament
* Creative and analytical aptitude
* Decision-making skills
* Leadership qualities — ability to manage manpower and material
* Ability to set priorities
* Communication Skills

Getting there
Take science (physics, chemistry and maths) in Class 12. Pursue a BTech degree in naval architecture and ocean engineering, for which you need to clear a written entrance test. The Indian Navy takes in graduates in selected branches of engineering, who are given postgraduate training at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. After the officers earn their diplomas in naval construction from IIT Delhi, the Navy sends them to the naval dockyards in Mumbai, Cochin, Port Blair or Visakhapatnam

Institutes and URLs
* IIT Madras and Kharagpur,
* Cochin University of Science and Technology
* IIT Delhi
* Indian Maritime University, Visakhapatnam

Pros and cons
* Constructive work — the fruit of your labour is tangible 
* Shipbuilding is a cyclic industry, which sees booms and dips by rotation

To design and build a ship is a creative art with high level of technology. The job is challenging but highly rewarding, both personally and professionally -- Professor SC Misra, director, Indian Maritime University, Visakhapatnam

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