Definitions

Shipyard

Shipyard

[ship-yahrd]

Shipyards and dockyards are places which repair and build ships. These can be yachts, military vessels, cruise liners or other cargo or passenger ships. Dockyards are sometimes more associated with maintenance and basing activities than shipyards, which are sometimes associated more with initial construction. The terms are routinely used interchangeably, in part because the evolution of dockyards and shipyards has often caused them to change or merge roles.

Countries with large ship building industries include Australia, Japan, China, Germany, Turkey, Poland and Croatia. The ship building industry tends to be more fragmented in Europe than in Asia. In European countries there are more smaller companies, compared to the fewer, larger companies in the ship building countries of Asia.

Most ship builders in the United States are privately owned, the largest being Northrop Grumman, a multi-billion dollar defense contractor. The publicly owned shipyards in the US are Naval facilities providing basing, support and repair.

Shipyards are constructed by the sea or by tidal rivers to allow easy access for their ships. In the United Kingdom, for example, shipyards were established on the River Thames (King Henry VIII founded yards at Woolwich and Deptford in 1512 and 1513 respectively), River Mersey, River Tees, River Tyne, River Wear and River Clyde - the latter growing to be the World's pre-eminent shipbuilding centre. Sir Alfred Yarrow established his yard by the Thames in London's Docklands in the late 19th century before moving it northwards to the banks of the Clyde at Scotstoun (1906-08). Other famous UK shipyards include the Harland and Wolff yard in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where the Titanic was built, and the naval dockyard at Chatham, England on the Medway in north Kent.

The site of a large shipyard will contain many specialised cranes, dry docks, slipways, dust-free warehouses, painting facilities and extremely large areas for fabrication of the ships.

After a ship's useful life is over, it makes its final voyage to a shipbreaking yard, often on a beach in South Asia. Historically shipbreaking was carried on in drydock in developed countries, but high wages and environmental regulations have resulted in movement of the industry to developing regions.

History

The world's earliest dockyards were built in the Harappan port city of Lothal circa 2400 BC in Gujarat, India. Lothal's dockyards connected to an ancient course of the Sabarmati river on the trade route between Harappan cities in Sindh and the peninsula of Saurashtra when the surrounding Kutch desert was a part of the Arabian Sea. Lothal engineers accorded high priority to the creation of a dockyard and a warehouse to serve the purposes of naval trade. The dock was built on the eastern flank of the town, and is regarded by archaeologists as an engineering feat of the highest order. It was located away from the main current of the river to avoid silting, but provided access to ships in high tide as well.

Ships were the first items to be manufactured in a factory, several hundred years before the Industrial Revolution, in the Venice Arsenal, Venice, Italy. The Arsenal apparently mass produced nearly one ship every day using pre-manufactured parts, and assembly lines and, at its height, employed 16,000 people.

Historic shipyards

Prominent dockyards and shipyards

See also

External links

  • Sea Your History - Website from the Royal Naval Museum - Discover detailed information about Portsmouth Dockyard and the Royal Navy in the 20th Century.
  • U.S. Shipyards - extensive collection of information about U. S. shipyards, including over 500 pages of U. S. shipyard construction records
  • Trading Places - interactive history of European dockyards
  • Shipyards United States - from GlobalSecurity.org

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