• People

    • David Byrne

      email: byrne@tensiontech.com


      David Byrne served as a deck officer with the British Merchant Navy, starting in 1964. Following a first degree, he spent several years in ship construction and port operations, subsequently undertaking a research degree in naval architecture. He then joined The British Ship Research Association (BSRA) as a Principal Research Officer in the Naval Architecture Department in 1979.  He held various posts including Manager, Ship Performance Department and Senior Manager prior to the merger of BSRA with NMI Ltd to form BMT Ltd in April 1985.  He then became Divisional Manager of Ship Operations and Engineering.

      In 1987 he joined the MacGregor-Navire Group as Technical Manager of the UK Company and Principal Consultant of MacGregor-Navire Consultants Ltd.  In 1990 he was appointed Managing Director of Transmarine Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the MacGregor-Navire Group.  In 1992 he led a Management Buy-Out of Transmarine Ltd, which later became Burness Corlett -Three Quays (Newcastle) Ltd in 2006. In October 2007 he became the General Manager and Director of the Newcastle office of Noble Denton Consultants Ltd, a member of the worldwide Noble Denton Group, one of the largest maritime consultancies in the world, now part of DNVGL.

      He left Noble Denton in 2011 but continues to provide independent consultancy services to the maritime and offshore industries through his company Flag C Ltd.

      He is a member of the PIANC UK Committee, specialising in the technical and operational aspects of port and waterway design and operations.

      He has been responsible for the design and construction of over 80 port facilities worldwide and is currently active in providing Port Marine Safety Risk Assessments, dredging/channel design studies, including the use of ship manoeuvring simulation to assess the risks of new berths or port approaches. Recent work of this type has included detailed assessments of LNG facilities and port and channel design for ultra-large container vessels as well as smaller ports.

      He is a specialist in mooring design, both multi-leg catenary and alongside quays and jetties.

      He has extensive experience of towage operations in ports and estuaries, planning, pre-tow surveys and marine warranty services for offshore barge/payloads and many oceanic dead ship tows.

      He has been responsible for the design, supply and installation of all types of cargo access equipment for ships, in particular Ro Ro vessel equipment and hatch covers.

      He has led many research and development projects and continues to carry out a wide variety of marine consulting activities for clients worldwide.

      The provision of technical advice to the legal and insurance professions, including Expert Witness, continues to be a significant part of his work. Past instructions include anchoring/mooring, salvage, safe port cases and personal injury matters. He is known as a specialist in claims relating to the design and operation of hatch covers. He appeared as a specialist naval architect in the Re-opened Formal Inquiry into the loss of the DERBYSHIRE. He has appeared as an expert witness in the High Court, London, the Supreme Court, Hong Kong, and many Arbitrations. He was the Crown Representative for the New Zealand Government in a significant Mediation relating to a naval construction contract.

      He has written the well-known book ‘Hatch Cover Maintenance and Operation’ which has now run to two editions,



      MSc Naval Architecture, University of Newcastle, 1979

      BSc Maritime Studies (with Commendation), Liverpool Polytechnic, 1973

      Chartered Engineer

      Class 2 Deck Officer

      Fellow Royal Institution of Naval Architects

      Fellow Nautical Institute

      Fellow Society of Consulting Marine Engineers and Ship Surveyors



      Member of UK Committee PIANC (Permanent International Association of Navigation Councils) – Port and Maritime Facilities Marine Specialist.

      Vice Chair of Governors - South Tyneside College

      Chair - Gateshead Sea Cadet Unit, T.S. FLAMINGO

      Chair – North East Joint Branch RINA/IMarEst

      Secretary - Nautical Institute North East UK

      Trustee and Director – Tyne Lifeboat Society


      EXPERIENCE (In reverse date order)

      2011 to Present:  Independent marine consultant working on a broad range of maritime projects via his company, Flag C Ltd. This work includes: ship manoeuvring, port and channel design and VTS; offshore FPSO operations; risk assessments and HAZOPs for port and offshore projects; marine warranty and towage; mooring analysis; FLNG marine operations, and technical support in legal/insurance matters. 

      2007 to 2011: General Manager of GL Noble Denton, Newcastle, responsible for a team of naval architects, engineers and mariners involved in design and consultancy across a broad spectrum of maritime activities: ports & terminals, shipbuilding, shipping and marine operations. His team of highly respected engineers and consultants followed him from his previous employment. 

      He was responsible for the Ships and Ports Business Stream within the organisation.

      Activities included:

      • Port marine safety and risk studies for LNG ports and facilities, ultra-large container ship manoeuvring studies and port risk assessments, ferry port risk and operability studies.
      • Quantified collision and grounding risk assessments and structural consequence/penetration analyses for tankers, LNG and LPG vessels.
      • FPSO/shuttle tanker offload dynamic analyses and collision risk analyses
      • Producing Joint Offload Procedures for an FPSO/ DP2 tanker tandem load operation
      • Specifying, management, supervision and analysis for a programme of sea keeping model tests for a naval client using an ocean towing basin.
      • Stability calculations and inclining experiments on raw gas injection modules for the Kashagan field and towage operation planning for the units.
      • Design of shallow water mooring systems
      • Marine Warranty activities for a series of ship tows.
      • Structural analysis of collision and groundings for tankers.
      • Concept and strategic design of LNG and oil jetties and terminals
      • Multi-ferry short-crossing operations studies for both ferries and port facilities.
      • Concept design of ferry for short sea crossing.
      • Bow and stern access equipment design for sea-going ferries.
      • Sea keeping and ship dynamic studies for a multi-role amphibious naval vessel and associated landing craft
      • Design of floating ferry facilities in river environments, including access road or passenger bridges
      • Independent design check for cruise ship passenger access system.
      • Investigation of various hatch cover/cargo claims.

      2003 - 2007 Director and Principal Consultant of Burness Corlett – Three Quays (Newcastle) Ltd.
      In addition to core ship design technical competences, Mr Byrne specialised in ship and port marine operations and port facility design, structural analysis (using finite element modelling), ship manoeuvring, seakeeping and ship/port interaction studies. He provided specialised detail design of shipboard cargo access equipment, including hatch covers and roll-on roll-off equipment.

      Strategic Risk Assessments and Failure Mode Analyses were also been carried out for major clients including the General Lighthouse Authority, UK, and UK MoD.

      Major roll-on roll-off port infrastructure design contracts were carried out for clients in China, Jordan, Greece the UK and in connection with Operation Telic in Kuwait.

      Projects for which Mr Byrne was responsible include:

      • Concept design evaluation and risk assessments for a large new port in Ireland.
      • Risk assessment for a port with specific dredging, manoeuvring and berthing difficulties.
      • Development of revised mooring strategy for UK MoD shallow water moorings and floating aids to navigation
      • Consultant to Orkney Islands Council on revised ferry shore facilities and new ferries throughout their ferry system
      • Design leader on a very large floating cruise terminal for the River Mersey, Liverpool, including all steel fabrication design, fendering and mooring system design and hydrodynamic analysis of the floating systems.
      • Concept design for modification of a ferry berth: Isle of Man Steam Packet service.
      • Authoring a definitive technical account, in book form, of the Common Structural Rules for Tankers for a major Classification Society
      • Acting as consultant to New Zealand Ministry of Defence and RNZDF in PROJECT PROTECTOR, a multi-ship naval construction project.
      • Survey and technical investigation of cargo damage following leakage through hatch covers on an ocean-going multi-purpose vessel.
      • Design and consultancy on amphibious warfare vessel ramps and associated systems on ships for the Spanish Navy, UK Royal Navy and UK RFA.


      1990 - 2003 Managing Director Transmarine Ltd., responsible for;

      • Consultancy services in ship design, shipbuilding, ship and port operations, coupled with engineering analysis and design.
      • Design, supply and life cycle maintenance of port Ro-Ro systems, Linkspans and Passenger Access Systems, together with shipboard cargo access equipment: Ro-Ro equipment and hatch covers.

      2001 - 2003: Naval architect appointed as expert to DERBYSHIRE Re-Opened Formal Inquiry with special responsibilities for hatch cover analyses and failure mechanisms in conjunction with a programme of sea keeping and self-propulsion tests. During this time he wrote the well-known book ‘Hatch Cover Maintenance and Operation’ which has now run to two editions,

      From 1990 to 2001: over 60 linkspans and passenger access systems were designed, built, delivered, installed and commissioned in ports worldwide by Transmarine Ltd, under the control of Mr Byrne, together with numerous sets of ship hatch covers and shipboard roll-on roll-off systems.

      1987 - 1990: Technical Manager of MacGregor-Navire (UK) Ltd, responsible for the concept and detailed design of a wide range of marine cargo access equipment and materials handling systems, including hatch covers, cargo elevators, Ro Ro ramps and doors plus offshore and land-based systems.  At the same time, he was appointed as Principal Consultant of MacGregor-Navire Consultants Ltd, which provided consultancy services in ship design, shipbuilding, ship and port operations, coupled with engineering analysis and design.

      During this time he was a member of the international Technical Committee which managed worldwide technical affairs of the Group and was responsible for setting technical standards for hatch covers and other equipment. 

      1979 - 1987: British Ship Research Association (later BMT Ltd). Head of the Ship Operations and Engineering Division, one of the six Operating Divisions.

      The research and consultancy work undertaken covered a broad spectrum, including ship design, marine engineering, ship operations including anchoring and mooring, steering and manoeuvring, sea keeping, materials and coatings, automation and microelectronics and full scale trials.

      Mr Byrne led several national research project teams relating to mooring and anchoring of ships, ship fuel efficiency and ship operations. Work included a large scale project for the US Military Sealift Command on the quality control and economics of hull coating systems for their complete fleet of vessels.

      1980- 1987: Member of the International Cooperative Research Club, based on MARIN towing tank, Wageningen, Holland - responsible for the development of new experimental apparatus for viscous drag testing in a high speed, high temperature towing tank, plus other working groups including ‘Design for Service’, ‘Propeller Efficiency’ and ‘Stability Criteria’.

      1978 - 1983: Tyne Division Royal Naval Reserve: HMS CALLIOPE Seaman Divisional Officer and Navigation Officer.  Various courses, including Gunnery and NBCD.  Sea-going watch keeper on Minesweepers and Minehunters.

      1976 – 1979: Department of Naval Architecture, Newcastle University, MSc in Naval Architecture: research in specialised marine coatings including over 170 ship dry dock surveys and ground-breaking work on quality control of coating application standards.

      1973 – 1976: Naval Architect, Port of Manchester, responsible for design, construction and maintenance of port ancillary vessels including tugs, floating cranes, dredgers and small craft.  Assistant Naval Architect, working in ship design and production. Involved in ship conversions including diving support vessels, Ro Ro ships and port auxiliary craft.  Responsible for design and construction of various tugs, dredgers and various ancillary port craft.   

      Royal Yacht Association Instructor, Offshore and Ocean Yacht Masters.

      1971 - 1973: Full time student.  Part-time sea-going in UK Home Trade / Middle Trade ships.

      1964 – 1971: Merchant Navy Deck Officer, Cunard Brocklebank Ltd.  (formerly Thos. and Jno. Brocklebank Ltd). First Mate’s Certificate of Competency (Foreign-Going) [now Class 2 Certificate]

      He is the author of over 60 internationally published papers and books relating to ship design, cargo access systems, ship performance, marine coatings, port development, ship operating economics and ship safety.