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School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering.

The Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering of NTUA was founded in 1969 being an evolution of the course in Marine Engineering, which was then offered by the School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering.

Three professorial chairs were established, namely Ship Theory, Ship Design and Construction, Marine Engineering and were held by Professor Loukakis, Antoniou and Ioannides respectively.

The history of the department is closely related to the development of the Greek Shipping and Shipbuilding Industry.

The major investments in Shipyards in the '60's and the rapid growth in shipping after the Second World War contributed to the appeal of a University degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering and as a result to a very high demand of the relatively small number of University places from prospective students. This in turn meant that the incoming first-year students to the Department were of exceptional quality, having obtained the highest score in the (country wide) exams than any University candidate in Greece.

However, the Department witnessed a gradual drop in the average level of entry students, which started in 1975 and continued till 1985, when a reversal was observed. This bears a direct relation to the changes in career opportunities in the Marine Industry in Greece but also worldwide, due to the international nature of the Shipping Industry. The major thrust behind the establishment of the Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering in 1969 was to cover the needs for highly trained engineers of the then new large Shipyards in Greece. Thus, the curriculum of the Department for the first 20 years of its life (1969 - 1989) was to formulate engineers targeted for a career in Shipbuilding.

The first oil crisis in 1973 and its reverberations throughout the Marine Industry worldwide, the gradual movement of the shipbuilding activity from Europe to the Far East and the demise of the large shipyards in Greece, in conjunction with social changes in the country, rendered a career as Naval Architect and Marine Engineer less appealing to prospective students of Science and Engineering.

In the '80's the public opinion in Greece obviously connected the hard times of the Shipbuilding Industry in Greece with the job prospects of graduate Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. This resulted in reducing the popularity of such studies in Greece, in tune with similar developments in other European Countries.

The difference in Greece from the other countries was the continuous growth of Greek Shipping throughout this period.

It is well known that Greek Shipping has a prime position worldwide, controlling around 15% of world shipping and around 40% of European Shipping, providing close to 3.5 billion USD of income to the country. There are more than 800 shipping companies and more than 1500 marine supporting companies and organizations in Greece, mostly concentrated in the Piraeus and the greater Athens area. In the year 2005 there were more than 300 newbuilding projects of Greek interests at various shipyards worldwide, and an unprecedented number in recent shipping history.

Traditionally the Greek Shipping Industry preferred experienced seagoing Engineers as opposed to University graduates for the senior technical positions. However as the market conditions were altered, with increasingly complex legislation being introduced and emphasis placed on quality in operation, as well as advanced technology being used in shipbuilding and placed on-board ships, the demand for specialized technical personnel grew. Thus Greek shipping started to increasingly employ University graduates.

Today the largest percentage of all the graduates of the Department since 1970, works in shipping companies (25%) compared to only 5% in Shipyards. In recent years the percentage of new graduates which find first employment in the Shipping Industry reaches 50% and the demand is increasing. These prospects ensure 100% absorption of graduates of the Department in the job market in the years to come. It is fortunate that this turn of events in job opportunities for the graduates of the Department coincided with its growth in the recent years.

The faculty was increased from 3 professors in 1970, to 20 in 1999. The curriculum was broadened to cover subjects reflecting the advances in Marine Technology but also to support the requirements of the prospective careers of the graduates. At the same time the research activity of the Department multiplied substantially.

The record of the Department in attracting externally funded RTD projects, is witnessed by the fact that it is leading within the University in the per capita income of external research funding.

Academic as well as contract RTD was initially led by the Laboratory of Hydrodynamics and its towing tank facility, which commenced operations in 1975 and was widely used since, by Government, the Navy and the Marine Industry.

The second major facility of the Department, namely the new large-scale experimental unit for marine propulsion systems research at the Laboratory of Marine Engineering, was built during 1996-1999 and started operating in 2000.

The Department was named School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering in 2002.

(Adapted from article by N.P. Kyrtatos - [ pdf ], "Τμήμα Ναυπηγών Μηχανολόγων Μηχανικών Ε.Μ.Π. - 30 χρόνια: 1969-1999". ΠΥΡΦΟΡΟΣ, Ε.Μ.Π, Αρ. 3/2000.)

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