Ship Construction Files

ICS continues to be closely involved in ship construction issues. In October 2015, in Seoul, the Chairman led the ICS delegation to the latest Tripartite Meeting of shipyard, classification society and shipowner representatives.

A milestone has been reached in the development of the IMO Goal Based Standards (GBS) for bulk carriers and oil tankers which come into effect for ships contracted for construction from July 2016. Meanwhile, after five years of intensive work, 2016 saw the completion of detailed inter-industry guidance on the practical implementation and provision of the Ship Construction File (SCF) as required by the GBS. The purpose of the SCF is to provide information related to the structural design and construction of a ship to those that need it, to help ensure safe operation throughout the vessel’s working life.

The ICS Construction & Equipment Sub-Committee has been an active participant in this cross industry work to develop SCF guidance, focusing on the need to ensure that Ship Construction Files are provided to the ship in a manner that will ensure the availability of all relevant information in a form that is optimised for practical operational use.

The SCF was developed by a Tripartite working group comprising shipowner, shipbuilder and classification society representatives. Guidance is provided in the form of an Industry Standard setting out general principles on the need for transparent provision of the required information while taking account of the legitimate concerns of shipyards about the protection of technically and commercially sensitive information.

This guidance is intended to facilitate agreement between the owner and shipyard on procedures for compliance being reached for each ship. It is anticipated that the arrangements for specific ships will reflect the overall framework provided by an individual company’s safety management systems.

The objective of the SCF guidance is to promote common understanding of the issues involved. This should facilitate agreement on procedures for achieving compliance with the IMO requirements on individual projects, while ensuring that such guidance cannot be incorrectly interpreted as providing an alternative to full compliance with relevant IMO requirements.

An important feature of the SCF guidance is agreement on the development of so called archive centres that will securely hold a full copy of the SCF so that all technical information required for the structural safety of the ship will remain available throughout its life to future owners, classification societies and relevant national authorities.

In addition to the information that is readily available on board the ship, the archive centre will hold secure copies of more sensitive information, such as the master lines plan and additional detailed information from the shipyard on design calculations that are not needed for general operational use but can be accessed, as appropriate, if needed for a specific purpose.

It is anticipated that the current interim version of this industry guidance will be further clarified and refined over the next two years as experience is gained in its application.

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