Shipowners and regulators want stronger ships. Both want new requirements to apply across the industry - a level playing field. In response, the 10 Members of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) are progressing technical programmes that will lead to more uniform scantling requirements and wastage limits for bulk carriers, oil tankers and, eventually, other ship types. For bulk carrier newbuildings, a major initiative - concerned with strength and safe operation - consists of new, harmonized design loading conditions and notations so as to provide increased transparency of the operating capabilities and limits of bulk carriers.
The new UR (Unified Requirements) provides for additional notations and annotations giving further detailed description of limitations to be observed during operation as a consequence of the loading condition applied during the design in specified cases. In addition, the UR will clarify thegeneral design loading conditions for all notations and specify ballast conditions. This initiative, concerned with newbuildings, complements IACS’ eight-point action plan for existing bulk carriers which, inter alia, accelerates the schedule for strengthening of the foremost cargo hold’s transverse corrugated bulkhead and double bottom, addresses the strength of the side structure in cargo holds, increases requirements for forward hatch covers, requires the installation of improved bulwarks or breakwaters when ships are not fitted with a forecastle and further increases the requirements of the IACS Enhanced Survey Programme earlier in the service life of these ships. Some of the requirements in this package will also apply to new tonnage. For example, in the case of newbuildings, it is expected that forecastles will be required.