Department of Ocean Engineering

Resume of Vassilis C. Papakonstantinou

Graduate Student & Research Assistant
Department of Ocean Engineering, Design Laboratory
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Ship Transit Risk Project

The "Transit Risk Project" focuses on the development of models for quantitative assessment of navigational risks entailed by vessels during transits into and out of ports. It is a three year long that employs historical casualty data to build these models. The efforts during the first year focused on the modeling of grounding risk at the port level, with special emphasis on the contribution of inaccuracies in navigation charts. Prof. N. M. Patrikalakis from the Design Laboratory of the Ocean Engineering Department at MIT and Dr. H. Kite-Powell from the Marine Policy Center at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are the principal investigators of this project. Johan Jebsen, another graduate student of the department, is also involved in the project as a research assistant.

The results obtained from first year’s efforts are encouraging. They suggest that sufficient data are available for the construction of a meaningful port-level model. Even though the accessible historical grounding data is not complete, the model is expected to provide some explanatory and predictive ability.

A separate model of economic risk has been developed also as part of the project. The objective of this model is to provide estimates of economic loss associated with the physical risk of grounding for a given region. Work previously performed by the U.S. Coast Guard and others served as the basis for constructing an algorithm that calculates cost estimates for groundings as a function of relevant parameters, including vessel size, nature of cargo and nature of the transit area.

During the second year, the development of the port-level model will continue and a working prototype will be delivered. Meanwhile, the research group has started working on the construction of a larger-scale model of risk within a segment of a single waterway. This model is expected to incorporate results of the port-level analysis, but will mainly investigate local factors, such as specifics of channel design, navigational aids configuration, currents, etc. The economic model is expected to be refined as well, mainly by improving the characterization of internal cost and possibly by including new data for external environmental losses.

In the third year, the project focus is expected to shift to other types of casualties, such as collisions. Experience gained in building the risk grounding model will provide a basis for the development of other, related models.

Biographical Information


Master of Science in Ocean System Management, February 1997
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Ocean Engineering
Thesis: Evaluation of the physical risk of ship grounding
Diploma in Mechanical Engineering, February 1994
National Technical University of Athens, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Thesis: Mathematical techniques for the analysis of the aluminum flow during its die casting

Research Interests

Research Experience

Research Assistant, MIT-Design Laboratory, USA.
Since September 1995
Research assistant with the Ship Transit Risk Group in the Department of Ocean Engineering, Design Laboratory, under the supervision of Prof. N. M. Patrikalakis. Responsible for analyzing relationship between historical ship groundings data and certain potential explanatory factors, including wind speed, visibility, vessel size and human factors. Project supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Potential benefits include better resource utilization for efficient mitigation of risk.
National Technical University of Athens, Athens, Greece.
From 2/94 until 2/95
Part-time research assistant. Worked under the supervision of Prof. M. Sfantsikopoulos on the development of a non-contact quality control system for the manufacturing industry, a project funded by a European Union consortium. Focused on the design of cleaning apparatus mounted on CNC machines in order to provide the appropriate environmental conditions for operation of the optical measuring device and its laser triangulation system used for measurement reference.

Professional Experience

H.A.R.T. Shipping Corp., Piraeus, Greece.
From 4/94 until 8/95
Assistant manager in the technical department. Promoted company-wide restructuring through the use of information technology. Responsible for the design, development and implementation of the department’s information management system. Potential benefits included cost reduction and business strategy optimization. Participated in vessel survey by classification society and major repair work.
KENT Data Systems S.A., Piraeus, Greece.
From 1/93 until 4/94
Assistant manager in the customer support department. Performed beta testing of ship management applications developed by the company. Provided on-site customer support of software and hardware. Supervised the installation of the Unicorn Library Management System at the National Statistical Office in Athens, Greece.
KENT Trading Corp., Piraeus, Greece.
From 12/91 until 1/93
Assistant manager in the operations department. Responsible for the evaluation of software to be purchased by the company. Participated in the preparation of two business plans for ventures in the shipping industry. Developed Excel based application for the accounting department.
P&P Marine Consultants Inc., Piraeus, Greece.
Summers of 90 & 91
Assistant in the technical department. Prepared background information for insurance claims.

Professional Activities

Prometheus Limited - PromNET, Piraeus, Greece.
From 3/95 until 6/95
Coordinated six-member team an attempt to raise funds for an Internet provider start-up designed to serve the Hellenic maritime community. Prepared business plan and negotiated with telecommunication authorities the installation of a 1.5Mbits satellite link between New York and Piraeus. Led the negotiations with prospective private investors. Unsuccessful but valuable experience.
Pantios University - Institute of International Relations, Athens, Greece.
May 95
Taught UNIX and HTML at a three week seminar focusing on the business activity in countries of the former Eastern Block and the Balkans.
General Secretariat for Research & Technology of the Greek Ministry of Industry, Athens, Greece.
From 5/94 until 8/94
Reviewed and evaluated several R&D projects (1986-1990) performed by Greek manufacturing companies and sponsored by the European Union, with subjects in the field of mechanical engineering as a member of a research team led by Prof. Sfantsikopoulos.
Serafis School – Computer Education Department, Piraeus, Greece.
From 9/92 until 5/94
Coordinated and taught (part-time) computer courses for young students (ages 10-18).


Hellenic Resources Institute, Cambridge, MA.
Since 2/96
Hellenic Resources Network (HR-Net) group. Design graphics for the WWW server. Maintain the Greek Institute web page. Advise on problems concerning the installation and use of Hellenic fonts reported via email by members of the Internet community


CORBA And IIOP World Objects Seminar
IONA Technologies, Boston, MA, Feb. 17, 1997.
Critical Issues in Maritime Economics
International Association of Maritime Economists. Cambridge, MA, Dec. 15-16, 1995.
4th International World Wide Web Conference
MIT Laboratory of Computer Science, World Wide Web Consortium team, and Open Software Foundation. Boston, MA, Dec. 11-14, 1995.
Industrial Mobile Robotics : Theory & Applications
National Technical University of Athens, Mechanical Engineering Dept., Mechanical Design & Control Systems Division. Athens, Greece, Nov. 7 - Nov. 11, 1994.

Computer Skills

Operating Systems
MS-DOS, MS-Windows 3.1, 95 & NT, UNIX & X-Windows.
Programming Languages
Visual Basic, C++, SQL, HTML, and JAVA.
Commercial Applications
MS-Word, MS-Excel, MS-Access, MS-PowerPoint, MS-Project, CorelDraw, AutoCAD, Mathematica, PhotoShop, Fractal Design Painter, and other.


Technical Chamber of Greece. Hellenic Association of Mechanical & Electrical Engineers. International Shipping Club at MIT. Hellenic Student Association at MIT (Treasurer, 96-97). Hellenic Resources Network. Greek Institute of Boston.


Greek (Fluent), English (Fluent), French (Good)



  1. "A port-level model of grounding and implications for navigation technologies", by Dr. H. L. Kite-Powell, Dr. Di Jin, N. M. Patrikalakis, J. J. Jebsen, V. C. Papakonstantinou, submitted to the Institute of Navigation 1997 Technical Meeting.
  2. "Evaluation Of The Physical Risk Of Ship Grounding", by V. C. Papakonstantinou and J.J. Jebsen, Master of Science Thesis, Dept. of Ocean Engineering, MIT, February 1997.
  3. "Toward a Port-Level Model of Grounding Risk", by Dr. H. L. Kite-Powell, Dr. Di Jin, N. M. Patrikalakis, J. J. Jebsen, V. C. Papakonstantinou, Submitted to the Risk Assessment and Safety in the Marine Industry session at ISOPE ’97.
  4. "Formulation of a Model for Ship Transit Risk", by Dr. H. L. Kite-Powell, Dr. Di Jin, N. M. Patrikalakis, J. J. Jebsen, V.C. Papakonstantinou, Sea Grant Technical Report, September 1996.
  5. "Informating vs. Automating the Maritime Industry", by V. C. Papakonstantinou Marine Money International, Vol. 12, No. 9, May 16-31, 1996.
  6. "Numerical Methods for Analysis of Aluminum Flow during Die Casting", by V. C. Papakonstantinou, Master of Science Thesis, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, NTUA, February 1994.

Personal Links

My personal web page @ MIT

Vassilis C. Papakonstantinou
77 Massachusetts Ave, Rm. 5-435, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
Tel: +1-617-253-7798, 253-8295
Fax: +1-617-253-8125

Last modified: March 10, 1997