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Call for Entries: Safe Affordable Ferry Competition

February 6, 2013

Call for Entries: Safe Affordable Ferry Competition, Open to Students Worldwide

Registrations are now being accepted for the Worldwide Ferry Safety Association (WFSA)’s annual student competition for the design of safe affordable ferries to serve developing nations.  Ferries are to be designed according to specifications of a particular developing and emerging market nation, this year: Bangladesh.  The top prize is $5,000 with additional prizes of $3,000 and $1,000, with winners invited to an award ceremony. Those interested in registering should contact the WFSA, though email at ferrysafety@gmail.com to receive further information and a registration identification number. 

The registration period closes April 1, 2013.  Submissions are due electronically by June 1, 2013.


The competition was launched in response to the tragic record of ferry fatalities in parts of the developing world. It builds on a ferry safety project initiated by Interferry- a professional organization, in partnership with the International Maritime Organization (IMO, the UN agency whose responsibility includes shipping safety). Interferry and IMO worked with Bangladesh, which volunteered to act as pilot, establishing a Ferry Safety Working Group to examine causes and implement demonstration projects.

IMO also organized Ferry Safety Information-Sharing Forums in South East Asia and the South Pacific.  These experiences indicated that one of the most difficult problems to address was the lack of safe affordable ferries. WFSA’s Executive Director, Dr. Roberta Weisbrod, explains that: “We decided to emulate design studios addressing other developing world problems and thereby unleash innovation for all.  In addition to generating new designs, another goal is to let the maritime community know about the opportunities in emerging markets.”


The 2013 competition calls for an innovative concept for a ferry prepared to basic design detail. The terms of reference are for a ferry able to transport 500 passengers along Bangladesh’s inland river system, between Dhaka, the capital (and a major commercial center) and Barisal, a region 250 km to the south.   The ferry must be safe to operate in the conditions of the waterway and weather, and meet required passenger capacity guidelines.  Additionally, the ferry must be affordable to construct, acquire, operate, maintain, and repair.  Upon registration, full specifications will be provided.   Student teams are encouraged to collaborate among disciplines and across national boundaries. 
 



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