In 1850, the Frenchman Lambo made a boat from wire mesh coated with cement mortar. His boat as a miracle of technology was exhibited at the Paris World Exhibition (1854). He presented his invention as a novelty that can replace wood rotting in water.
In 1917, the Norwegian engineer Nikolai Fougner built the concrete ship Namsenfjord, with a displacement of two hundred tons, which developed a speed of ten knots. The baton was picked up by the British, Italians, French and Danes. There were various reasons for this: an acute shortage of steel, the need for heavy payload. After World War I, more than 1000 concrete ships were built.
- concrete ships were cheap and built quickly
- for most of the work it was possible to hire workers who had no experience in shipbuilding
- the ship hull was not rusted, the damage was quickly repaired
But there were also disadvantages:
- Concrete ships differed more draft due to heavier hull.
- Such structures were much worse than resisting directional dynamic loads (impacts when mooring, grounding, colliding with ice, etc.).
- Ships were not easy to upgrade, to attach new elements to the concrete.
- The success of the construction is too dependent on the natural conditions (it is difficult or completely unrealistic to work with reinforced concrete at low temperatures).
Interestingly, the concrete ships served for several more decades. Some of them have become floating targets. Others are breakwaters and breakwaters. Reinforced concrete was used to build oil platforms and storage tanks on the water. And the reinforced concrete tanker Andjuna Sakti (built in 1975) is still in operation in the Pacific Ocean.