The main idea at the root of the SAFEDOR project was the 'Design for Safety' concept, which describes the integration of safety as a design objective in the design process to minimise risk, alongside traditional design objectives such as minimising power requirements and maximising cargo carrying capacity. Integration of risk and reliability analysis methods into the design process for ships therefore leads to 'risk-based ship design', the subject of SAFEDOR.
It was decided early in the development of SAFEDOR to focus only on four ship types with a significant economic value for Europe: cruise ships, RoRo/RoPax, gas tankers and container vessels. SAFEDOR later also included oil tankers. These vessels are the most knowledge intensive and safety critical which underlines the strategic importance of SAFEDOR to the European maritime industry. It was expected that these ships would be favoured by the new risk-based approach and that the future removing of regulatory constraints would open the route to innovative ship designs and, thus, to improved competitiveness for the companies involved.
SAFEDOR's overall objective was to enhance safety through innovation to strengthen the competitiveness of the European maritime industry.
SAFEDOR aimed to attain this objective by answering two fundamental needs:
- Risk-based ship design and approval will satisfy the European maritime industries' need to deliver ever more innovative transport solutions to their customers.
- Risk-based ship design and approval will also satisfy the European society's need to have increasingly safer transport.
SAFEDOR research activities addressed - and provided solutions to - both aspects and, thus, delivered important building blocks for Europe to sustain world-leadership in safety-critical and knowledge-intensive ships, maritime services, products, equipment and related software. Increasing safety and security of maritime transport cost-effectively was achieved by treating safety as a design objective and not as a constraint, as in current ship design. Increasing the competitiveness of European industry was achieved by systematic innovation in design and operations encouraged by modernising the maritime regulatory system towards a risk-based framework.
Five strategic research objectives were formulated to meet the outlined vision:
- Develop a risk-based and internationally accepted regulatory framework to facilitate first principles approaches to safety.
- Develop design methods and tools to assess operational, extreme, accidental and catastrophic scenarios, accounting for the human element, and integrate these into a design environment.
- Produce prototype designs for European safety-critical vessels to validate the proposed methodology and document its practicability.
- Transfer systematically knowledge to the wider maritime community and add a stimulus to the development of a safety culture.
- Improve training at universities and aptitudes of maritime industry staff in new technological, methodological and regulatory developments in order to attain more acceptance of these principles.
In order to meet the project's objectives, SAFEDOR activities broadly focused on four key aspects: methods and tools to enable risk-based design, a risk-based regulatory framework, application to ship and ship system design and supporting action.
These key aspects of the project can be broken down according to the 6 blocks:
Block 1: Risk-based design entails the systematic integration of risk analysis in the design process targeting risk prevention/ reduction as a design objective. An essential pre-requisite to undertaking this was the availability of fast and accurate first-principles tools.
Block 2: Knowledge of the effect of design changes/measures to enhance safety cost-effectively (considering all major hazards and ensuing accident categories and scenarios) is crucial. This issue was addressed through FSA studies and implementation of first-principles tools.
Block 3: To pursue Block 2 effectively, it was necessary to provide an integrated design environment (IT platform) to facilitate and support a holistic approach to ship design that enables appropriate trade-offs and advanced decision-making, leading to optimal ship design solutions.
Block 4: The next essential step (design approval) required the development and consolidation of a risk-based regulatory framework to set conditions for design approval that would allow linking ship design performance optimisation with risk minimisation.
Block 5: To embed the risk-based design process into the heart of the maritime industry, design teams were assembled representing a large sector of the EU shipping and shipbuilding industries to pursue the design (from concept to approval) of innovative ship types that cannot be approved under the current prescriptive rules.
Block 6: Finally, a knowledge management, training and dissemination system was put in place to maximise benefits by targeting all the stakeholders of maritime safety and to exploit RTD results by systematic evaluation, consolidation and marketing. This system entailed a training course for professionals and four public conferences.
Within the project SAFEDOR, elementary building blocks for a risk-based regulatory framework for shipping were developed. These comprise the approval processes for ships and ship systems, risk evaluation and acceptance criteria at ship and functional level and requirements for documentation and qualification. In addition, six formal safety assessment (FSA) studies were conducted and submitted to IMO.
Work performed in SAFEDOR towards a modern and risk-based regulatory framework has and will further affect the way risk is managed within rule making at IMO level. The approval processes for risk-based ship and ship systems both aimed to provide a basis to be used by approval authorities to ensure that novel and risk-based designs are handled in a safe and efficient manner and set out to make the approval process these designs more transparent and reliable. The key element of the newly proposed approval processes was an intermediate step called the 'Preliminary Approval' which concluded the first phase of the process.
The preliminary approval allowed the client to demonstrate that an independent third party attests to the novel or risk-based design which may be useful with respect to project partners. High-level risk evaluation criteria for use within risk-based design and approval were proposed. These criteria include individual and societal risk acceptance criteria, a cost-effectiveness evaluation criterion related to life saving and appropriate background information to update the criteria.
Risk evaluation criteria at ship system and function level have not been published openly. An unpublished report from SAFEDOR lists such criteria and proposes a general procedure to derive lower-level risk evaluation criteria. This procedure builds upon a risk model for the considered system or function and uses high-level cost-effectiveness criteria to derive target reliabilities, availabilities or failure probabilities. The procedure was successfully applied to hull girders in intact and damaged condition and a fuel oil system.
The FSA studies were performed to deliver high-level risk models, identify risk control options and to document the current level of risk per ship type and followed the FSA guidelines (IMO 2002 and IMO 2007). The FSA studies have been submitted to IMO addressing container vessels, LNG tankers, oil tankers, cruise vessels and RoPax ferries. The submitted FSA studies show that all the societal risk profiles of considered ship types are in the ALARP area and, therefore, c
So far, the technical results concern mainly:
- Design tools for safety performance prediction: Development of advanced tools to predict the safety performance of a given ship design and their integration into a risk-based design procedure.
- Innovative safety-critical technologies: Development of a methodology and computerised tools for safety and reliability analysis of innovative design proposals and innovative concepts for safe navigation.
Risk-based regulatory framework: Development of Formal Safety Assessments (FSAs), aimed at documenting the risk level for the selected ship types, including all major accident scenarios, and to identify cost-effective risk control options related to design and operation. This results in a Risk-Based Regulatory Framework aimed at developing a high-level description of the whole approval process in cases of risk-based design.