Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The chaos theory in action

Wandering through a shipbuilding yard one is immediately struck by the sheer complexity of human endeavour that goes into creating ocean-going leviathans. The craft of building a ship must surely rank as one of Mankind’s finest achievements, for it marshals the resources of vast industrial operations and the efforts of thousands of individuals. For months on end, those shipwrights will toil to assemble the myriad of pieces that eventually come together as a vessel, an artifact that will then leave its birthplace and venture to the farthest corners of the globe.

In industrial terms, Ulsan, in southeastern Korea, is the Detroit of shipbuilding, home to the Hyundai Corporation’s yards (the same family-run enterprise that produces cars and trucks nearby). Sprawling over several kilometres of shoreline by the East Sea, Hyundai has three separate facilities encompassing dozens of dry docks and hundreds of fabrication sheds. Their shipwrights craft everything from supertankers and container ships to offshore oilrigs, building the vessels in a piecemeal fashion that appears chaotic when viewed up close.

Of course there is a master plan afoot here in the Ulsan yards, the evolution of thousands of years of shipbuilding. Koreans themselves have a long history of crafting ocean-going ship – over four centuries ago they built the first ironclad vessels – but they have taken a page from Western mass production and perfected the system. They pre-fabricate the sections of a vessel and then move them to dry docks for final assembly, something easier said than done.

To move the sections, the yards utilize huge multi-wheeled platforms called transporters, each the size of a tennis court. These transporters meander around with blocks of hull sitting on their backs, the steel sections visually seeming to float about the ground. Cranes known as “Goliaths” then heft the blocks into the dry docks where they’re welded into place and becoming the hull. As a vessel nears completion, it is floated out to a wharf and the final elements are added, the result of perhaps a year of labour and anywhere from $50-150 million (US) of financial investment.

But beyond the industrial might presented at Ulsan’s yards, what I found most fascinating was the human involvement in shipbuilding. Though hardly evocative in their aesthetic characters, the vessels crafted here are a point of undeniable pride among the shipwrights whom I met. One told me of how he looked upon each vessel like a family member, an entity he would never forget. Another ran his hand across the burnished side of a propeller blade with all the care of an artist caressing a new piece of sculpture.

Yet for all the effort these individuals put into crafting their creations, there is one key difference from other workers building other things. While a steelworker can point to skyscraper and tell his or her grandchildren that “I helped build that”, a shipwright is left with nothing but memories once the job is done. Rarely, if ever, do vessels return to Ulsan, meaning that after months of hard labour, each Korean worker must say a private farewell to their handiwork before it heads over the horizon to begin its Sisyphean journeys coursing through the oceans and seas of our planet.


At 7:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2015-10-7 xiaozhengm
louis vuitton outlet stores
true religion jeans
tory burch sale
ray ban sunglasses
coach outlet store online
michael kors outlet
jordans for sale
Coach Factory Online Outlet Cheap Purses
michael kors handbags
ugg boots
coach outlet
canada goose jackets
michael kors handbags
Outlet Michael Kors Online
louis vuitton handbags
Louis Vuitton Outlet Quality Handbags
Michael Kors Outlet Sale Online Store
air max 95
Abercrombie and Fitch Striped Shirts
ugg boots sale
coach factory outlet
Authentic Louis Vuitton Handbags Outlet
Michael Kors Online Store Outlet
louis vuitton
Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM Monogram
michael kors uk
Ray Ban Outlet Store Online
Authentic Louis Vuitton Handbags Cheap Sale
Michael Kors Outlet Discount Purses Online
michael kors outlet
Michael Kors Handbags Factory Outlet
Coach Coupons In Coach Outlet Store Online
Discount Clearance Coach Outlet Handbags
michael kors outlet

At 9:43 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

ugg boots outlet
louis vuitton handbags
michael kors outlet
ralph lauren uk
canada goose uk
true religion jeans
air force 1
coach factorty outlet
snapbacks wholesale
christian louboutin outlet
michael kors outlet
kate spade handbags
ugg outlet online
nike trainers
cheap ugg boots
michael kors uk
kate spade outlet
micahel kors
nike air max 90
north face
jordan 3
michael kors
longchamp bags
air jordan 8
coach outlet
air jordan pas cher
coach outlet
cheap uggs on sale
cheap jordan shoes
adidas shoes
michael kors
michael kors outlet
polo ralph lauren
michael kors uk
michael kors handbags
michael kors outlet
christian louboutin uk
running shoes
nike tn

At 9:37 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Lane Kiffin cheap nfl jerseys was apparently putting in some work for Nike Roshe Run FAU even before anyone really knew he was Nike Free Run a candidate for the job.

While there’s been nothing official yet from the school, all signs and reports nfl jerseys store are pointing to the Alabama offensive coordinator being named as the head Nike Air Max 90 coach at christian louboutin uk Florida Atlantic at some point in the not-too-distant future — specifically, at an expected press conference as early as Tuesday morning. Last week, even before reports christian louboutin shoes connecting louboutin outlet Kiffin to FAU first surfaced, NFL Jerseys Kiffin was reportedly looking to add a quarterback wholesale nfl jerseys with whom he’s Nike Air Max 2015 Shoes very familiar.


Post a Comment

<< Home