Ship design process

Deltamarin’s services cover all phases and disciplines of the ship design process. Each project is planned according to your needs and preferences.

Our research and development (R&D) function has carried out more than 670 application studies exploring various markets, project feasibility, product applicability, machineries and systems. These also serve as an excellent basis for developing state-of-the-art vessel concepts.

Ship design process by Deltamarin

Feasibility Study

The ship design process starts with a feasibility study which is the first phase of concept development. The purpose of the feasibility study is to develop the first vessel design(s) for the ship owner in order to be able to check the required investment and the feasibility of the intended service. The starting point for the feasibility project is the customer’s business plan or basic description of the vessel or the service. Basic statistics of built vessels are applied. Comparisons to existing designs are essential to achieve a good result.

Deltamarin has carried out hundreds of feasibility studies for different types of vessels. We are also one of the few companies to utilise a 3D parametric presentation of the arrangement at this early stage, allowing easy and quick alterations and later development of the vessel concept.  At the end of the feasibility phase, the customer is in a position to discuss further with other parties involved, and to decide whether to go ahead with the concept.

Outline Project

The purpose of an outline project is to develop the available vessel concept to a level where the inquiry material can be sent to shipyards for tendering purposes. The main focus in this phase is to create reliable design material describing the design to a sufficiently detailed level for the shipyard’s pricing purposes. An interactive 3D model can also be developed for the customer’s own use.

With a prototype vessel, it is essential that the project is well defined before approaching yards. All yards can then start with the same basis, the owner receives comparable proposals and gets the desired design at an affordable price. Not all yards have the capacity or the experience to produce the necessary design by themselves. In China, for example, an owner’s outline project is practically always required to receive a proposal from the yard.

At this stage, the preliminarily selected classification society, which also works as a representative of the national authority, should be called in. This is especially the case when there are new rules to be applied. Major suppliers should also be approached to receive both commercial and technical proposals.

At the end of the outline project, the owner can send yards invitations to tender.

Project Development

The purpose of the project development phase is to utilise the time period between the tender request and contract negotiations. The vessel concept will be developed to a more defined level, thus minimising the technical and commercial risks of the project. The main focus in this phase is to further refine and verify the developed design principles with more detailed calculations and design. Typically the general arrangement (GA) drawing, structural analysis and hull form/stability are further developed. Preliminary model tests can also be carried out to ensure the performance of the project.

Optimisations are applied as much as possible in the development of the above features. If opted for, the general arrangement (GA) with the aid of a 3D product model will act as a coordination model for all design activities. The model will be developed to a level where most of the separate spaces are identified and defined. The design will be updated until it can be seen that the design criteria and targets have been reached. Specific studies are conducted when needed, and the outline project documentation is finalised.

Contract Project

The purpose of the contract project phase is to provide technical assistance and consultation during the evaluation of different yard proposals, to further develop the design material, to participate in technical and commercial contract negotiations and to assist the owner in finalising the contractual technical specification. The main aim of this phase is to reach a confirmed technical specification and supporting documents.

The work starts with the review of the proposals received from the bidding yards. The customer should decide which of the proposals seem interesting and should be included in the first round of the evaluation process. The first evaluation round will be performed at most for 10 yard proposals and will concentrate on finding deviations in the tender material (i.e. the outline specification developed in an earlier project phase). The deviations of each proposal will be listed and their impacts assessed, and a summary of all proposals will be prepared.

After this, a short listing of the most interesting proposals should be carried out and feedback given to the shortlisted yards. The yards should  be given time to develop and update their proposals before arranging a technical clarification meeting where the customer, yard and Deltamarin discuss all different aspects of the yard proposal and especially the items deviating from the outline specification. After this, the yard will continue developing its own material and Deltamarin will perform a more detailed assessment of the technical specification.

After this round, a preliminary selection of the building yard should be made, and discussions with this yard continued. Deltamarin will then continue updating and preparing proposals for final contractual material based on the final technical negotiations. Once the final technical details are agreed, Deltamarin will prepare the final contractual documentation that can be confirmed and signed, and will then work as the final technical specification and supporting documents to the shipbuilding contract. In China, for instance, an owner’s contract project is practically always required as not all yards have the ability to develop it.

As a result of this phase, the shipbuilding contract is signed.

Basic Design

The purpose of the basic design is to develop the project in order to achieve approvals from the classification society, national authority and other related authorities as well as to define the project to meet the owner’s requirements. This means that an efficient basic design class and flag should be decided upon. At the same time, the project will be technically defined to allow the procurement of the main equipment. The basic design process cannot proceed without the selection of manufacturers for the main systems, as makers’ data is required for the design to proceed.

Basic design is typically ordered/carried out by the yard, but can be carried out on behalf of the owner as well, even before signing the shipbuilding contract. This, however, means that the owner may have to make the classification agreement as well as select the main makers, subject to the shipbuilding contract.

Basic and detail design schedules often overlap. The basic design is finished once all approvals have been received.

At Deltamarin, we typically carry out 4-6 basic design projects a year, including technical procurement handling.

Hull form development

Deltamarin’s strong team of hydrodynamic experts are highly experienced in optimising hull forms for the actual operating conditions of ships. By careful optimisation with state-of-the-art tools, we can reduce needed propulsion power while maintaining good manoeuvring and seakeeping characteristics. With hundreds of model-tested vessels as a reference and the cutting-edge RANS CFD solver STAR-CCM+ as a tool, we optimise vessels to the highest efficiency level.

In addition to CFD simulations, we carry out 10-15 model test series a year at different European model basins. Successful execution requires experience and knowledge of developing the hull form, and the model tests need to be carried out to verify that the optimisation targets have been achieved. We have very good experience in managing this process to a successful end result.

Detail Design

To ensure a uniform basis for detail engineering and interface agreement between the yard, owner, different suppliers and Deltamarin as designer, precoordination design is carried out. This coordination phase is important as the last check concerning system redundancy and availability. This phase may also be called integration design.

Space reservations will be checked and necessary definitions for the location of various main items will be accomplished. The ship-wide routing of piping, ducting and cabling will be made to prevent any discontinuity in design at areas of interface.

The basic design diagrams for piping, the main cable trays and ventilation ducts will be brought on top of the space arrangements and layouts, taking into consideration the structural arrangement as well.

Detail design and engineering are carried out in accordance with the selected building method. Normally hull, machinery and piping are taken care of by the yard, and the rest by the area and system suppliers. However, this depends on the selected shipyard. Detail/production design is typically carried out by the yard alone and/or together with the designers. In China, the practice is different as, in detail design, only the final vendor data is implemented and the production design is carried out by the yards with their own 3D programmes.

Basic and detail design schedules often overlap. The detail design ends in production start-up.

Construction and Commissioning

During the construction, we at Deltamarin can supervise the project as well as work in close cooperation with the yard to ensure successful project execution.

Newbuilding supervision is typically subdivided into three phases:

  • Yard and supplier meetings
  • Document control/approval/special studies
  • Supervision

Depending on the owner’s involvement, we are in a position to take responsibility of all three phases if needed.

Document approval is handled mainly through our main office, where we have required specialists available concerning, for example, safety, noise and vibration, structural finite element method (FEM) analysis, naval architectural calculations, weight, etc. Yard meetings are handled by the supervisors and/or by required specialists. Supervisors are mainly our own experienced people. Local capacity can be used when necessary. We have partners in different countries and locations, which enables us to respond locally, sometimes very quickly.

Training should be started as early as the model testing phase concerning, for example, manoeuvrability, crabbing and harbour approach, and continued with system simulations, etc. while the basic design proceeds.

System redundancy and availability should be simulated during the design phase and not be left for the commissioning phase only.

Ship in Operation

For sailing vessels Deltamarin offers a wide range of services to maintain your fleet in excellent condition, or even to upgrade it to the next level. For conversions, we offer design services for the complete project from feasibility studies to full EPCM packages. All this based on our long track record and knowledge of latest technologies.

Our products and services during operation include the following:

  • One-stop shop for conversions: studies, design, management and execution
  • Energy efficiency audits and improvement studies, read more here
  • Energy efficiency training, read more here
  • Updating of stability documentation
  • Updating of technical documentation
  • Technical documentation lifetime management and storage services
  • Safety audits and studies
  • Dynamic Positioning (DP) class upgrades
  • Environmental studies

For more information please contact

Kristian Knaapi
Head of Sales & Marketing
Tel. +358 2 4336 453
Mobile +358 40 7006 905
Marko Aalto, Project Discipline Engineer, Hull
Marko Aalto
Project Discipline Engineer, Hull

The Deltamarin design philosophy is about seeing the big picture, and making even the smallest details suit your operation. Through dedicated teamwork, we are able to boost up design process and create solutions that even surpass expectations.