European Maritime Research Project Completed

SAFEDOR is completed. The maritime research project on risk-based ship design and approval has been concluded after four years of intensive study. Representatives from the 53 project partners of all sectors of the maritime industry and guests are meeting today and tomorrow at the International Maritime Organization for the Final Conference. The maritime experts deal with theoretical approaches to risk-based frameworks and risk-based design as well as practical aspects such as systems availability, fire and navigational safety, damage survivability and rescue. In addition to the presentations and discussions various software tools are being presented.

Seeing safety treated as an objective rather than a constraint imposed by design rules was the initial goal of the EU-funded research project SAFEDOR (Design, Operation and Regulation for Safety). In the past four years, the project partners discussed and developed possibilities to enhance the safety of ships. At a press conference, achievements of the project and an outlook were presented by the steering committee consisting of Dr Pierre C. Sames (Germanischer Lloyd, Chairman of the SAFEDOR Steering Committee), Karl-Christian Ehrke (SAM Electronics), Rolf Skjong (Det Norske Veritas), Tom Strang (Carnival Corporation & plc), Dracos Vassalos (The Ship Stability Research Centre), Thomas Witolla (Meyer Werft) and Jeppe S. Juhl (Danish Maritime Authority).

Three major achievements have been accomplished:
1. SAFEDOR partners created a framework for risk-based design which is now documented in a handbook for naval architects and marine engineers.
2. The second achievement was the development of an approval process for risk-based ships which is being submitted to IMO.
3. The third pillar of SAFEDOR are applications. A series of innovative ship and system designs were generated that show the practicability of the SAFEDOR approach. To document the current risk level, five formal safety assessment studies for major ship types were conducted and also submitted to IMO.

What’s next?
At the press conference, Dr Pierre C. Sames, Chairman of the SAFEDOR Steering Committee, gave an outlook of further research fields: “We expect that the number of risk-based design and approval applications will continuously grow, that the application of risk-based approaches in rule-making will increase and that the linking with risk-based approaches during operation will increase.”

With the regulatory framework for shipping changing towards a more goal-based style and new regulations addressing fire safety, damage stability and – in the near future – life saving appliances advanced by IMO, the design solution space available to the ship designer is expanded. Ship designers have now available increasingly sophisticated methods and tools supporting advanced and risk-based ship design. They include safety as additional objective into the design process. Risk evaluation criteria are eventually becoming explicit and accepted also at maritime administrations and enable a holistic decision-making. Taken together, all necessary elements and the frame are now available to produce innovative ships with enhanced economics and increased safety.

In parallel, industry has started using the risk-based approach developed in SAFEDOR in a number of new commercial and research projects. And the European maritime industry has identified the implementation of risk-based frameworks as key priority towards 2020.

Risk-based ships are sailing today and their operational aspects are aligned with the current regulatory framework treating risk-based elements as equivalents. Details and reasons for the acceptance of the equivalent are to be communicated to IMO and circulated to IMO Member States. With the advent of more design aspects of a ship becoming risk-based, there is a clear need to ensure complete documentation of all risk-based elements of a ship together with the process and criteria of acceptance should be carried onboard. In addition, a proper summary addressing the concerns of surveyors and port state control officers should be drafted.

The Past Four Years
SAFEDOR commenced its work in February 2005 as the first large scale project developing the concept and elements of a risk-based regulatory framework for the maritime industry. A major part of the work was the integration of corresponding design tools to facilitate first principle approaches to safety, addressing the complexity of a fully comprehensive system.

The multinational research project SAFEDOR was co-ordinated by ship classification society Germanischer Lloyd. 53 project partners from all sectors of the maritime industry were working on an innovative design approach to enhance safety at sea.

Please find more information about SAFEDOR at