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In Memoriam: Howard Shatto

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Howard Shatto

Howard Shatto, Chairman Emeritus of the Dynamic Positioning Committee of the Marine Technology Society, passed away on 21 January. Born in 1924, Mr Shatto had a long and distinguished career of pioneering offshore technology and was known as the father of dynamic positioning (DP).

After graduating from Yale, Mr Shatto began his career with Shell, where he helped build Shell’s first diesel electric drilling rig. He also led in the development of ROVs for intervention on the first subsea BOPs for drilling and production. He conceived the world’s first automatic control for DP on Shell’s Eureka core drillship in 1960. In 1970, he made industry history with the Sedco-445, the world’s first DP oil exploration riser-equipped drillship. Since then, more than 4,000 DP systems have been built worldwide using Mr Shatto’s initial concepts.

Over the course of his career, he served on numerous committees, including the Technical Advisory Panel of the multinational Ocean Drilling Program for Earth Sciences. He was inducted into the Offshore Energy Center Hall of Fame in 2000.

As testament to his success, Mr Shatto received many awards, including the Offshore Technology Conference Distinguished Achievement Award, the Dynamic Positioning Committee’s Life Achievement Award and the Blakely Smith Medal.

He leaves the industry with 35 US patents, several published papers and a chapter in the Ocean Engineering Handbook.

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