Will IMO Dictate Ship Design?

Tuesday, May 11, 2004
The International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) is set to meet for the next nine days to debate a number of matters of high importance, notably the implementation of the maritime security measures adopted by IMO in 2002.

Scheduled for May 12-21 at IMO HQ in London, the meeting will also address issues that could have impact on the way in which ships are designed. On the agenda is "Goal-based new ship construction standards," and the MSC is expected to examine in detail the concept that IMO should develop "goal-based" standards for ships' construction and equipment.

The MSC is expected to consider specific proposals, by Governments and international organizations, on goal-based standards and design philosophy in order to clarify and define their meaning. The premise behind the development of goal-based standards is that IMO should play a larger role in determining the fundamental standards to which new ships are built.

There is no intention that IMO would take over the detailed work of the classification societies, but rather that IMO would state what has to be achieved, leaving classification societies, ship designers and naval architects, marine engineers and ship builders the freedom to decide on how best to employ their professional skills to meet the required standards. At present there is no international legislation or guidance on these matters. Therefore the MSC is expected to consider the introduction of a mechanism to ensure harmonized, internationally agreed standards, under the umbrella of IMO.

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