When Manuel Moreu, SM ’78, was a child, his father was an officer in the Spanish Navy, and Moreu wanted nothing more than to become an officer himself. However, when he was five, he went deaf in one ear from the side effects of antibiotics, which meant the Navy would never take him. “Instead of serving the warships, [decided to] build them,” he says. Now Moreu runs Seaplace, Spain’s best maritime design agency, designing both military and civilian ships. In a career spanning 40 years, he has not only helped design ships for the navies of Spain, Norway and other countries, but also introduced innovations to massive new oil and gas exploration platforms in the North Sea and Brazil. More recently, the company has moved to clean energy with new offshore wind designs.
Moreu came to MIT to study course 13, Ocean Engineering (which merged with mechanical engineering in 2005), with an emphasis on fine element analysis. “At MIT I didn’t need coffee,” he says. “From five in the morning I got the adrenaline I needed for the whole day. My brain was just constantly working on solutions.” After graduation, he and Jorge Sendagorta, SM ’78, founded Seaplace as a division of a British company; eventually it became an all-Spanish company with Moreu as president. It employs 50 naval engineers and generates revenue of $2.4 million. In the 1990s, the company designed advanced drillships and floating production storage and unloading units, which combine production and storage on a ship.