The Fate of the Vasa Essay

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The Fate of the Vasa

Identify the main characters and key facts, dates and numbers. Main Characters Captain Sofring Hansson. Henrik Hybersson – Shipwright. King Gustavus II Adolphu.s Admiral Klas Fleming – Kings Representative. Hein Jacobsson appointed person in charge by Fleming after Hybersson death. Joran Mattson – Boatswain (Witness to stability Test) Erik Jonsson Kremer – Commander of the Ordanance. Key Facts Swedish Admiralty signed a shipbuilding contract for four new ships.

Previous contracts saw the successful build of 4 Ships with a proven keel length, (108’). Sept 1625 – fierce storm hit Swedish Fleet, The King changed the order for delivery of ships in order to replace the loss. Nov 1625 – The King wanted certain specifications done to the 2 smaller ships, Keel Lengthened to 111’ (to carry more arms). Feb 1626 – Again the King demanded that the length of the next 2 ships be increased further albeit that the keel had already been built. (135’).

In 1626 Hybertsson the Shipwright became ill and died, Fleming appointed Jacobsson to take charge of delivery. There were no plans or specifications, no drawings, and no descriptions of the designs or changes. Later in 1626 the King changed the plans for the ship to incorporate more gun decks, because he learnt of a Danish ship being built this way. He wanted to have substantially more gun power on these decks. The Shipwrights were used to building ships of 108’ Keel length and only one gun deck, this additional Keel length and gun power was new to them and they hadn’t built or designed a ship like this before.

After the Hull was launched the Ship had many Sculptures / ornaments fitted to it to Honor the King (as it was to be his Ship). It was to be the most elaborate ship ever built. The King however continued making changes, and eventually ordered that 32 of the heavier guns be put on each gun deck. May 1628 – The schedule of the Vasa was well behind, King insisted that the work be complete by July 25th or those responsible for delay would be subject to Kings disgrace. Stability testing was conducted and witnessed by Fleming and Mattson, the Vasa heeled violently during the testing which involved 30 men running from side to side on the upper deck.

Mattson pointed out this to Fleming and also told him that “the ship was narrow and lacked enough belly”, Fleming told Mattson that the shipbuilders have built before and not to worry. Fleming took no action and did not inform the shipbuilders who did not witness the Testing / results. Aug 1626 saw the launch of the Vasa, she was the largest Royal warship built, however as she was leaving the harbor on her maiden voyage, she heeled right over and water rushed in the gun ports of the 150 passenger on board, over 50 lives were lost.

The King demanded the guilt parties be found and punished. An inquiry was carried out, and the first accusation was to Captain Hansson about securing the guns which he denied and was proved right some years later. Stability was questioned in particular if she had enough ballast to support he weight, because this was a specific design by the King no-one knew exactly how much was needed. The ship had as much ballast as she could hold, and this was more than Fleming had wanted. Mattson had informed the inquiry about the stability test, but neither Captain nor Fleming mentioned it.

The prosecutor pointed out the amount of ballast should have been loaded by another foot, but Kremer said that it couldn’t have been ballast any more as the gun ports were too close to sea level as it was. Kremer also said that it was inevitable she would sink as she was heavier over than under. Mattson backed this up stating that Fleming was already upset by the amount of ballast. Jacobson has said that he had built the ship as per Hybertsson specifications which had been given by the King. Inquiry ended – No conclusive result, No-one found guilty, no-one punished, no-one knew who was to blame.

Key Dates 1625 January – Swedish Admiraly Signed contract with Hybertsson Septemebr – Storm wiped out 10 ships from Swedish fleet October – King ordered 2 smaller ships be done first to replace loss and changed the length of Keel 1626 February – King ordered Hybertsson to build an even longer ship as he didn’t have timbers to match his specifications King orders further change to ship to incorporate 2 gun decks. Hybertsson becomes seriously ill !627 Spring – Hybersson dies and Fleming appoints Jacobsson in charge of delivery of Vasa 1628 May – King demanded Vasa be completed by July – Stability testing conducted. August – Maiden voyage and sunk Key Numbers/Data 50 Lives lost Ships dimensions 135’ x 25.5’ Additional Gun Power – Top heavy

Analyze the information and data following the 6 Steps below: Step 1: Situation Audit Write a brief synopsis of the organization’s current situation, opportunity, or problem. What are the organization’s goals, objectives and constraints? Although Hybertsson was a successful Ship builder for ships with a standard heel, he had no experience of larger ships. The standard ships were built on reckonings and school of thought. No calculations were done to determine center of gravity, displacement volume. Everything with regard to standard design was kept inside Hyberssons head.

The main objectives of Hybersson were to build standard ships that he knew well and hadn’t had an issue with. Step 2: Problem/Decision Statement Identify the main problem. What is the root cause? Main problems were: The King was making demands of the Shipbuilder who didn’t know how to build larger ships and could not say no. No calculations / designs were documented so when Jacobsson took over he was doing what he thought was best and what Hybersson had suggested. The ship being built as per the Kings request was top heavy, too narrow and had insufficient ballast. Step 3: Identification of Alternatives Identify the strategic options that appear to be solutions to the problem or decision.

Project Management, Clear planning and engineering design work needs to be documented. Accurate testing needs to be formally laid out and reported. Possibly witnessed by a certification governing body. Have confirmed designs that could incorporate set keel lengths and hull widths, eliminate the bespoke type of ship. Step 4: Critical Issues What factors should be considered in making a strategic decision regarding the problem presented? Agree at the contract agreement signing stage what ships will be supplied, and stick to it unless an agreed amendment has been made.

Step 5: Analysis Evaluate each alternative action against the critical issues identified in Step 4. If changes are requested that conflict with the contractual agreement then re-negotiations must be made, to determine whether these changes can be done or an alternative supplier has to be sought. Step 6: Recommendations Part 1: Actions What specific actions should be (should have been) taken and why? Agree contract, appoint a Project Manager who knows the contract and can pull resources. Design calculations / reviews to be approved. Deliverable objectives / timelines, stop – go point to allow reviews with contractor and end user.

Part 2: Implementation Plan Who should do what, when and where? Contract Manager – to ensure that there is no conflict to contract expectations Project Manager – to develop project and timeline plan to achieve delivery. Arrange for Certification body to review and witness at key points. Invite end user to witness if essential.

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