The damaged ship - notions and truths

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book


Damage stability is not any longer limited to considering the properties of the residual GZ curve or damage freeboard alone. For passenger ships, in particular, damage stability limitations constitute 90% of the risk to life, a fact that simply needs careful attention. The truth is now visible and measurable. A painstaking evolutionary development on ship stability is giving way to unprecedented scientific and technological developments that raised understanding on the subject as well as capability to address even the most demanding societal expectations on human life safety and do so cost-effectively. This enhanced capability brought with it knowledge on the level of safety ships are being designed to and on the way ship operation impacts on this. In this regard, tolerability and safety standards find themselves wanting every time there is an accident, with serious questions being raised on the damage survivability of ships, a reminder that damage stability is very much the "Achilles heel" of passenger ship safety. Moreover, still "hidden" in the rules book is the chasm in safety levels between existing ships and new buildings, making continuous monitoring of safety onboard, hence preparedness and emergency response services, even more imperative. As a result, notions about damage ship stability and safety are also giving way to some important truths: ships are vulnerable platforms, a fact that is further exacerbated by traditional operational practices. This realisation necessitates raising awareness to stimulate and nurture a maritime industry safety culture, striving to raise and uphold high safety standards in ship design and operation through a regime that aims for and supports continuous safety improvement. This paper demonstrates the aforementioned notions and truths as well as the implications of contemporary developments on the design and operation of passenger ships with suitable examples from existing ships and new buildings.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Damaged Ship II
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoyal Institution of Naval Architects
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781909024113
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventInternational Conference on Damaged Ship II - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 30 Jan 201331 Jan 2013


ConferenceInternational Conference on Damaged Ship II
CountryUnited Kingdom


  • verification framework for maritime safety
  • damage stability
  • emerging issues with "old" and "new" ships and rules
  • vulnerability

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