MCA Researches High-Speed Craft

Friday, April 04, 2003
The U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has assumed a series of projects researching aspects of the stability of craft certificated under the IMO Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft (2000). Following recommendations by the High Speed Craft Advisory Group (an MCA consultative committee), proposals were submitted to the Research Board in 2002, and contracts have been awarded during the first few months of 2003. Project 501 is investigating the mechanics of raking damage of high-speed craft, taking into account hull material and scantlings, and the vessel’s displacement and speed. The objective is to determine scientifically the extent of damage that should be considered on such craft if a level of safety equivalent to conventional merchant shipping is to be attained. The project has been awarded to Associate Professor Bo Simonsen of the Danish Technical University, who has developed a technique specifically for making such comparisons. Project 502 examines the behavior of high-speed craft in following and quartering seas, and has been awarded to BMT Sea Tech, the UK hydrodynamics experts. Most types of high-speed craft are known to experience some reduction in directional stability in following and quartering seas. Currently no specific criteria are set to address these hazards. Aims of the project include developing both design and operational guidelines for different types of high-speed craft to avoid or mitigate the effects of these hazards. Project 503 looks at the way in which wind heeling moments are calculated for use in stability criteria. Following prior research which showed that the plan-form area of catamarans significantly affects the magnitude of such moments, further wind tunnel tests are to be undertaken from which a revised calculation method will be derived suitable for both monohull and multihull high-speed craft. The Wolfson Unit for Marine Technology and Industrial Aerodynamics are undertaking this work. Project 504 comprises an examination of the MCA database of high-speed craft incidents to evaluate all those relating to stability and buoyancy. The objective is to determine whether the current HSC Code adequately addresses the types of stability incidents that are occurring. Additional scenarios that need to be considered and provided for in the HSC Code will be identified. Project 509 addresses the suitability of the current intact and damaged stability criteria for monohull and multihull high-speed craft. In particular, no theoretical or experimental justification is known to exist for the multihull criteria. The aims of the project include establishing criteria for multihulls that will give a comparable level of safety to that inherent in the monohull requirements. The Wolfson Unit for Marine Technology and Industrial Aerodynamics has been awarded this contract. Blyth Bridges Marine Consultants Ltd have been appointed by MCA to coordinate and manage this suite of projects.
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