Stephen Payne (naval architect)

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Stephen Payne, OBE, is a British naval architect. He worked on the design of approximately 40 passenger ships for the Carnival Corporation including the Cunard ocean liner RMS Queen Mary 2.[1] He is currently an independent maritime consultant and is an educational advocate for engineering careers.

Stephen Payne on board RMS Queen Mary 2 in July 2013.

Background and education[edit]

Stephen Michael Payne was born in London, UK (circa 1960).[2]:12 Although Payne had had an interest in ship design since childhood, he entered Imperial College London as a student of chemistry. He was later advised to pursue his life interest and he transferred to the University of Southampton to study ship science. While there, he also enrolled in the University Royal Naval Unit to experience how ships responded at sea.[3] Payne graduated in 1984 with a BSc.(Hons) in ship science. He was initially employed at Marconi Radar to advise the company on aspects of ship motions and ship design.[3]

Professional career[edit]

Payne began his work with Carnival Corporation in January 1985 with his first assignment to assess stability of the MS Holiday.[2]:14 He next became a member of the design team for the Carnival Fantasy class ships which entered service starting in 1990. The last two Fantasy ships were equipped with ABB Azipod thrusters rather than traditional shaft drives, a development which influenced his later work. His next major project was the design of Holland America Line’s new flagship MS Rotterdam VI where he was project manager. Payne designed the new ship with twin funnels, a tribute to the 1959 SS Rotterdam V.[4] Following completion of the Rotterdam, Payne was project manager for the Costa Atlantica and the Spirit class ships.[2]:14

In May 1998 Carnival acquired the Cunard Line and Payne was given charge of designing the new ocean liner Queen Mary 2 (QM2) to replace the aging Queen Elizabeth 2 as Cunard's transatlantic liner.[2]:15 Payne's design was heavily influenced by past Atlantic liners. "I have this philosophy that to get things right the first-time, you need to have an appreciation for history - of what has been done before."[5] QM2 has a breakwater adopted from the Normandie and split engine rooms to avoid having a single point of failure. On three occasions Carnival's board halted the project as they did not consider it commercially viable.[6] Payne refined the design and instituted several innovations to justify the new liner's construction cost. He placed the new ship's public spaces near the water line. This allowed for a premium fare balcony, rather than porthole, cabins to be placed in the hull yet high enough to have a margin of protection from the sea conditions of the north Atlantic. Payne also created more revenue-producing interior space by removing one engine room from the initial design and instead using gas turbines at the base of the funnel. Podded propulsion, rather than shaft drives, was used to free up even more interior space and offered greater fuel efficiency and maneuverability. Spectacular public rooms, restricted to only first class passengers on the great twentieth century liners, were open to all passengers.[1] QM2 was delivered to Cunard in December 2003, on time and under budget.

Payne next lead the design team for the Seabourn Cruise Line Odyssey class ships which entered service starting in 2009. In 2010, Payne left Carnival and the following year formed his own consultancy, PFJ-Maritime Consulting Ltd.[3] As a maritime consultant Payne has been involved in the proposed Project Orient Limited,[7] shipping law,[8] passenger vessel safety,[9] and future developments for shipping propulsion.[10] He is also an industry consultant for the emergence of Asian shipyards for ship building and refurbishment.[11]

Engineering Advocacy[edit]

Payne is a governor of Quilley School of Engineering, a secondary school in Eastleigh, UK. He was a founder of Future Engineers, an educational outreach program which promotes awareness of engineering careers for youth.[12] In 2011, Payne became a member of the Board of Trustees of the Webb Institute (Glen Cove, New York).[13] In 2012 HRH Princess Anne launched STEMIT (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), a program to provide skill and experience opportunities for science students. Payne is currently President of The National STEM Skills Passport.[14]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2004, Payne was awarded the Civil Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II for his service to the shipping industry.[15] He also received professional and academic awards:


  • Grande Dame: Holland America Line and the S.S. Rotterdam ISBN 978-0903055123 (1990)
  • MS Statendam: Continuing "A Tradition of Excellence" ASIN B000OLKCLC (1992)
  • RMS Queen Mary 2 Manual: An insight into the design, construction and operation of the world's largest ocean liner ISBN 978-0857332448 (2014)


  1. ^ a b Payne, Stephen M. (March 2006). "True Liner: The Creation of the Queen Mary 2". INGENIA, The Royal Academy of Engineering (26): 38–42. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d Payne, Stephen (2014). RMS Queen Mary 2 Manual: An insight into the design, construction and operation of the world's largest ocean liner. Somerset, UK: Haynes Publishing. ISBN 978-0857332448. 
  3. ^ a b c "Alumni Profile - Stephen Payne". University of Southampton. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  4. ^ Payne, Stephen M. (1990). Grande Dame : Holland America Line and the S.S. Rottendam. Rina Ltd. p. 132. ISBN 978-0903055123. 
  5. ^ Mathisen, Oivind. "A Ship For The Sea". Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Winter 2003-2004. Cruise Industry News. Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  6. ^ Payne, Stephen (June 16, 2012). Commencement Address (Speech). Webb Institute - One hundred and Sixteenth Annual Commencement. Glen Cove, NY. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "Southampton to Sydney by ship: Plans to launch new service gather momentum". Daily Mail Online. 2 November 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  8. ^ Tweed, James. "LSLC Cadwallader Symposium. From Titanic to Concordia: the Achilles Heel of Passenger Ships". London Shipping Law Center. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "BC Shipping News, May 2013". Nautical Institute Conference, Victoria, BC, Canada. McIvor Communications Inc. Retrieved 13 April 2014. 
  10. ^ "Future Ship Powering Options: Exploring Alternative Methods of Ship Propulsion". Royal Academy of Engineering. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  11. ^ "Cruise Shipping Asia-Pacific 2014 Conference". Cruise Shipping. UBM -PLC Events. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "PFJ Maritime Team". PFJ Maritime. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 
  13. ^ "Webb Institute 2012 Commencement Speaker Profile". The Webb Institute. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 
  14. ^ "STEM Skills Passport". Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  15. ^ "Queen's Birthday Honours". The Telegraph (UK). 12 June 2004. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  16. ^ "Special Achievement Award 2006". Prizes and Medals. Royal Academy of Engineering. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  17. ^ Kennedy, Clare (16 July 2007). "Honorary degrees to recognise outstanding achievements". Daily Echo. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  18. ^ "2014 Council of the Institution - Past Presidents". Royal Institution of Naval Architects. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  19. ^ "Academy announces new Fellows for 2008". Royal Academy of Engineering. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  20. ^ "Trustees - Culture Southampton". Southampton Cultural Development Trust. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  21. ^ "VADM Land Medal - Recipients". The Society of Naval Architects & Marine Engineers. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 

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