Application of a decision-making model to the selection of a ship propulsion plant

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Virginia Tech

A literature search was conducted to determine to the type and scope of decision methodologies employed in selection of a ship propulsion plant by the commercial and naval shipbuilding communities as well as methodologies used in other industries. The methodologies were categorized and evaluated by the author with regard to ability to accommodate multi-attribute decision-making involving attributes of a qualitative and quantitative nature inherent in propulsion plant selection.

An alternative decision methodology employing the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) combined with selection criteria and sub-criteria unique to the shipbuilding industry was proposed which offers improvements in consistency and quality of judgements and accountability over current methodologies. A case study involving a 700 foot RoRo vessel design was developed to demonstrate how the alternative methodology could be applied. A three level decision hierarchy was developed to evaluate four propulsion plant alternatives involving gas turbine, low speed diesel and medium speed diesel prime movers.

The results obtained using the proposed methodology were analyzed and sensitivity analyses were prepared assessing the range of sub-criteria weights assigned by the author over which the plant selection would be valid.

A description of the investigation, selection criteria and sub-criteria, benefits, and recommendations for future efforts is included.