The Polish Register of Shipping (PRS) supports the development of goal-based ship construction standards by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The main goal is to ensure ship’s structural safety for its entire life span, which in turn provides the basis for safety standards criteria. PRS believes that rational, tested standards should be supported by instruments for verifying their implementation with a view to establishing a sustainable safety culture. The standard determining safety should be long standing, whereas the instruments – detailed rules, prescriptive requirements, design formulae, procedures and computer programs – should be continually developed.
New regulations have been developed and adopted by classification societies in response to sinkings. However, such a reactive approach cannot deliver the standards necessary to ensure adequate safety at sea and satisfy public concern. PRS believes that a greater opportunity for positive change is represented by the development of goal-based ship construction standards. Its proposal to IMO envisages that verified compliance of the ship’s structure with the set standards should ensure that the goal is achieved. Development of instruments that enable implementation of the standard and verify the compliance of a ship’s structure can be left to Recognized Organizations (RO), such as classification societies. To ensure the comprehensive IMO supervision of the safety policy, PRS believes that these ROs should be recognised by IMO.
To verify the proposed goal-based standard, PRS has developed a theoretical model and computer program to predict wave-generated stresses in any ship structure member and to assess fatigue strength. In applying this program to the various requirements for existing bulk carriers, PRS found that compliance with the standard verified by instruments (based on physics theories) requires different mass allocation (configurations of ship structure) than that presently applied. Comparisons with various class requirements are now in progress. Initial results indicate widespread discrepancies between the existing requirements and those of standards and derivative instruments based on physics theories.
Long standing goal-based standards will provide a natural base from which evolving instruments for implementation and verification can be developed. Rather than constituting a delayed reaction to casualties, they will be a proactive step towards safety based on proven physics theories.