Posted on: August 21st, 2012 by Stas




During my summer vacation, I spent five days in South Korea and I went to two shipyards, Samsung and Daewoo.

I’ve learned some very important things while being here. America should learn these things also. If we as a country learned from the Koreans  then we would be a strong independent nation again.

These things are:

1) Respect towards everyone:  On the plane (Korean Air) you are treated like royalty. For example: A lady next to me spilled some hot water on her hand and the flight attendants spent a good 15 minutes fussing over it. They brought her ice, cold water and kept checking in on her.

2) Cleanliness:  Korean streets are kept in PERFECT order. No trash to be seen anywhere. The shipyards where we went (I’ll go into detail about them in another status) you couldn’t find a single piece of steal or pipe out of order. No lines or cords out of place. You could eat off the ground that’s how clean it is but I wouldn’t recommend it.

3) Organization: The two shipyards we went to (DSME and Samsung) they build 70 ships per year per shipyard. That means each shipyard takes 9 months to build a ship of over 100,000 tons. Which amounts too 1 ship being launched every 5 days! Without this kind of organization they couldn’t do it.

I said I would talk about the two shipyards the Samsung Heavy Industries and DSME  (Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering) shipyards.

A friend of my Dad’s, Leftheris Vlassopoulos is a Greek naval architect who  was our guide and took us all over the Samsung shipyard and then went with us to DSME. He also took us to his favorite crab restaurant and helped find me a new backpack.  So here I go:

Samsung employs about 30,000 people.

DSME employs 30,000 peeps.

Cool huh?

These two places will change me forever… Well this WHOLE trip will.

About the same size.

Yet very different layouts.

Samsung first began as a small shipyard.

It now has two HUGE  drydocks, which can each hold four ships that weigh up to 200,000 tons each.

Pretty cool right?

I certainly thought so.

The Samsung shipyard follows the coastline.  It just keeps expanding.

They have honestly planned the lay out so well that not an inch is lost.

Every single inch of the place is used for some reason. The shipyard is a living maze. So many different tight turns and alleyways. The people at Samsung are working on as many as 12 ships at the same time!

AMAZINGGGG even if I say so myself.

This living maze called Samsung shipyard is always moving.

Everywhere you look… Something is being welded, lifted, hammered, moved or someone is yelling.

800 ton parts of engines being lifted here and there, ships being launched, the sparks from the welders gun falling like fireworks to the ground and making a popping sound.

A man here and there yelling at someone to do something. These workers do so much work in such tight spaces and they get it done so fast.

Why can’t America be like them?

Now on the other hand the DSME  ship yard started out as nothing. They had to grade the land and EVERYTHING. It took them from 1973 to 1981 to build the shipyard. The shipyard now spans 1,000 acres.

Cool right?

DSME was built with wide spacious lanes to move steel blocks (which are small but heavy sections of the ship) to staging areas in drydocks for final assembly.

After the ship is finished it gets outfitted, that consists of all the electronic do dads  put into it’s rightful home and everything else small or large placed.

When that step is finished then comes the naming ceremony which is a big party by the owners at the shipyard. After the naming ceremony party has died down , the little 200,000-ton ship goes bye-bye.


I got a lesson in how strict the Korean people can be when we were riding the bus back to Seoul from the shipyards on Geoje island, a four hour ride. The driver stopped half way at a bus station. We stopped for maybe 15 minutes. Everyone was back on the bus except one man. We waited for maybe 3 minutes. The driver was getting extremely mad. I looked down at my book and started reading. I heard the doors close and engine start up, thinking the man had gotten on I kept reading. I soon looked up noticing he wasn’t there and we had left him behind. That stunned me. We left the poor guy behind! If you’re late you’ll be left behind. They don’t mess around  in Korea… Lesson learned?  Indeed.

What was that lesson?

Don’t be late or you’ll be left behind.



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