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The vision of SAFEDOR

   Enhance Safety through Innovation
   to Strengthen the Competitiveness
   of the European Maritime Industry  

SAFEDOR will provide solutions to increase the safety and security of waterborne transport cost-effectively through treating safety as a design objective (and not as a constraint). To succeed, it is necessary to establish a risk-based regulatory framework that links performance prediction with risk assessment. With the application of state-of-the-art first-principle analysis tools within an integrated and holistic design approach, a balance between costs, safety and performance can be achieved optimally analysing cost-effectiveness of safety-enhancing measures. In the end, risks are reduced to as low as reasonably practical whilst accounting for other design priorities and constraints.

The International Maritime Organization supports adopting a holistic and risk-based approach to maritime safety that deals with safety cost-effectively and during the life cycle of the vessel through the use of Formal Safety Assessment. FSA has so far resulted in prescriptive (but risk-based) regulations, and the opportunity for risk-based design, operation and approval processes of individual ships has not been explored although some regulations (fire, evacuation, damage stability, some class rules) are paving the way for adopting this approach. Moreover, with change happening faster than experience can be accumulated and best practice applied or in the absence of any experience with novel ship designs, the need to adopt first-principles is unavoidable.

It is believed that the maritime industry will benefit in providing an alternative risk-based design and regulatory framework that removes rule-based constraints to innovative design solutions. SAFEDOR will focus on knowledge-intensive and safety-critical vessels with high economic value for Europe and it will offer support to apply a new methodology through funding of a series of specific applications: concept studies, design studies and detailed designs.

To accomplish the outlined mission, several R&D (sub-) projects are planned that will focus on

  • Development of methods and tools to assess operational, extreme, accidental and catastrophic scenarios, accounting for the human element, and integrate these into a design environment
  • Development of innovative solutions and products for safe, secure and economic operation of ships
  • Establishment of a risk-based regulatory framework to facilitate first principles approaches
  • Development of prototype designs for European safety-critical vessels to validate the proposed methodology and to show its practicability.

Risk-based design

Risk-based design is a formalised design methodology that integrates systematically risk analysis in the design process with prevention/reduction of risk (to life, property and the environment) embedded as a design objective, alongside standard design objectives (such as speed, cargo capacity, passenger capacity, and turnaround times). This implies the adoption of a holistic approach that links risk prevention/reduction measures to ship performance and cost by using relevant tools to address ship design and operation. This is a radical shift from the current treatment of safety (risk) as a design constraint imposed by rules and regulations. Risk-based design offers freedom to the designer to choose/identify optimal solutions to meet safety targets. For risk-based design to be realised, safety must be treated as a life cycle issue, which in turn implies focus on risk-based operation and need for a risk-based regulatory framework. All three elements will be addressed within SAFEDOR.

Risk-based design, operation and regulation open the door to innovation, as radically novel and inventive design solutions become feasible. It is strongly believed that risk-based design is a key element for the industry to enhance its competitiveness, as the focus shifts towards knowledge-intensive products. On the other hand, the same approach will inherently lead to safer products cost effectively, because safety can be incorporated into the design process as just another design objective, instead of being treated as a constraint as is the case today.

Risk-based design in the maritime industry will follow the well-established path of quantitative risk assessment used in other industries. The term "risk based design" is also in common use in other industries. The following steps are needed to identify the optimal design solution:

Set mission objectives
  • Identify hazards and scenarios leading to losses
  • Determine risk associated with hazards
  • Identify means to prevent/reduce risk
  • Select safety enhancing features/measures that are cost-effective and designs that meet objectives
  • Approve design solution or change main parameters
The key for a successful risk-based design is to use advanced tools to determine the risks involved and to quantify the effects of risk preventing/reducing measures, as well as to develop acceptance (evaluation) criteria to judge their cost-effectiveness. These are all integral elements of SAFEDOR.

2004 by GL

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