Germanischer Lloyd: R&D Helps Pave The Way For Safety

Since its foundation in March 1867, the prime purpose of Germanischer Lloyd (GL) has been a professional dedication to the highest standards of safety at sea. In the early 1970s that aim was enhanced by GL's working arrangement with the German ministry for research and technology. This relationship has provided us with a research and scientific base in ship technology which we have been able to use to enhance safety at sea in many ways. The arrangement began as a joint venture between the shipbuilders, shipowners, suppliers, universities and Germanischer Lloyd. In 1976 we were appointed by the ministry to participate in all research and development (R&D) in ship and maritime technology supported by it. In 1991, our role was significantly enhanced to that of project manager for ship technology, which includes the administration of research funds. In this role, to the end of 1992, we have been involved in 134 projects concerned with ship technology, many of these being directly connected with ship safety.

It has been a fruitful arrangement for those involved, one result being the large scale Ship-of-the- Future project which gained distinction worldwide and advanced ship safety in a number of aspects. GL is also much involved in the follow-up R&D program dubbed "Ship Operation System" (SHOPSY), which is due for completion in July 1994. This is also being sponsored by the ministry for research and technology, and its results are intended to further enhance the safety and reliability of seagoing vessels. It is intended to set the fundamentals of ship operation for the future, including advances in automatic collision avoidance. • Safety Through Quality We recently launched an independent, specialist subsidiary company to meet the growing demand for the certification of quality assurance systems for sea transport, as well as for ship components and design. The new company, GLQZ, has a staff of 63 auditors and experts with special training and experience, based in different countries throughout the world. Audits will be carried out in the local language of each country.

The demand for accreditation by an impartial body has been growing rapidly as quality assurance systems are an emerging factor in the competitiveness of companies and in ensuring maximum safety at sea. The Single European Market has heightened the importance of quality assurance systems as an element in safety and competition, and GLQZ is certifying systems in accordance with ISO 9000.

In 1991, GL became the first German body authorized to certify quality assurance systems by both the Dutch and German government agencies, recognizing GL as an independent body for certifyingin compliance with Euronorm 45012. GL first began to assess quality assurance systems when certifying products in the 1960s, and set up its own office for this purpose in 1988. • Targeted Safety Campaigns Show Promise To achieve maximum safety at sea, our campaign to raise safety standards in bulk carriers is showing some very positive results. Our special task force of surveyors dealing with the safety problems of older bulk carriers has been hard at work since its formation in 1991. Up to January 1,1993, and with the agreement of owners, 60 bulk carriers of more than 10,000-gt each and over Figure 1 / LNC -ta iker. / V container - ship / 15 years of age have been subjectec to an extraordinary survey. Eleven have left the GL register since the new surveys were instituted. The specially qualified surveyors are located in many parts of the world, including the U.S.

The survey results are analyzed at our headquarters in Hamburg. The results, supported by investigations by other organizations on an international basis, have made a substantial contribution to pinpointing the main causes of ship loss and damage. Ultimately, the findings will result in new rules and instructions for periodical surveys for bulk carriers and elderly vessels of other types.

It is interesting to note that to maintain the highest standards of ship safety under our class, GL turned down applications for 267 ships of nearly 600,000-gt in 1992. Similarly, due to our high standards, 319 ships of some 1.3 million gt left our register during that year.

• Tanker Safety: Determining Collision Resistance Since 1983, GL has been involved in determining the collision resistance of ships in a research program on tanker safety sponsored by the German ministry for research and technology. GL was the first classification society to develop an index number to express the collision resistance of a ship. The requirements for the issuing of this index number have been included in GL rules since 1986. Recently, GL was commissioned by the five European shipyards involved in the development of the E3 double-hulled tanker to calculate and assess the collision resistance of this vessel. The 280,000-dwt ship has a capacity of two million barrels and is designed to fulfill all of today's environmental regulations, as well as those expected in the future. The assessment of collision resistance was based on a collision between two moving vessels of the same size, and between a moving vessel and a stationary vessel, with variation in the draft of both vessels. Two different bow shapes for the striking vessel were investigated: a bulbous bow and a raked bow (see Figure 1). GL is also breaking ground in the technology of surveying older tankers and bulk carriers. The methods used so far have been based on the principle of visual inspection by competent experts, supported by thickness measurements. The selection of the areas of the ship to be surveyed and measured has, to a large extent, been concentrated on suspected weak spots, and has depended on the experience of the surveyor. It has not been possible to predict and localize these areas with precision. The difficulty has been exacerbated by the extremely tight schedules under which the surveyors have to work.

The result has been that decisions affecting the current and future safety of ships have been made under far from ideal circumstances. This was of less importance in earlier times when ships were smaller and of considerably higher residual strength, but is not satisfactory for the older, larger vessels now at risk. GL has begun to break new ground by bringing sophisticated computer and laser measurement technology to bear on the problem. This is being supported by pressure tests to determine deformation of bulkheads and outer plating under load, and by measuring and analyzing the natural vibration of the vessel. These calculations should provide a much more scientific basis for the surveyor before commencing a visual survey.

All this enables a visual display computer model to be built up (see Figure 2) showing all of the structural components of the ship with their permissible corrosion allowances. From the thickness measurements of many investigations by GL surveyors throughout the world, the critical areas are determined in relation to the ship type, and are incorporated into the model. In this way, a forecast can be made of the structural strengthening that may become necessary at a later stage, or the operation limitations that may have to be imposed on the ship. It will also permit additional strengthening calculations to be made without any great additional effort. We believe that these sophisticated models will mean that the existing procedures for classifying the older, larger vessels, will change soon, and that GL will once again have made a significant contribution to safety at sea.

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