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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 7

I The First 100 Years 1788-1888

II Railways

III Motorised Vehicles

IV Aviation

V Modern Shipping
i Shipbuilding Industry
ii Changes in the Shipping Industry Through Improved Technology

VI Innovative Small Craft

VII Conclusion

VIII Acknowledgements

IX Contributors



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Modern Shipping (continued)

Australia was to the forefront in the adaption of the industrial gas turbine to marine propulsion. Following feasibility studies during the late 60s and 70s, a decision was made by the then Union Steamship Company and subsequently BHP, to fit marinised versions of industrial gas turbines in a number of new construction vessels. This decision, based on the results of the feasibility studies, was made to gain the advantages projected of considerably reduced maintenance cost as compared with comparable powered medium speed diesel installations. This was then a major element in ship operation and the savings envisaged considerably outweighed the higher fuel consumption costs of the gas turbine at that time. Unfortunately, shortly after the building of these ships oil fuel prices rocketed and the cost advantages were rapidly reversed, to the extent that some of those vessels have been subject to major conversions to medium speed diesels. Ironically, fuel prices have recently done a rapid 'about face' and perhaps the industrial gas turbine may again show to advantage.

From the viewpoint of advancing technologies it is interesting that the first vessel to be built with a gas turbine-electric propulsion system was the 35,000 tonne d.w. tanker Chevron Oregon built by the FMC Corporation at Oregon, U.S.A., but a dispute over manning delayed its entry into service, hence Seaway Prince RO/RO vessel built by the Whyalla Shipbuilding and Engineering Works has the distinction of being the first gas turbine-electric vessel to enter service. A graphic illustration of Australian ship building technology keeping abreast of world design advances.[5]

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Union Steamship Company; Whyalla Shipbuilding and Engineering Works

People in Bright Sparcs - Campbell, Robert

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© 1988 Print Edition page 522, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher