Shipbuilding Issues

In October 2016, around 200 representatives of classification societies, shipbuilders and shipowners came together in Tokyo for their annual ‘Tripartite Meeting’ on shipbuilding and design issues of common interest. The 2016 meeting, hosted by Class NK, the Japanese Shipowners’ Association and the Shipbuilders’ Association of Japan, was organised by ICS – a task traditionally rotated among the international shipowners’ associations. 

The Tripartite Meeting has been held every year since 2002, and it was decided that it was timely to take stock of the forum’s achievements and to fine tune future aspirations. A working group has therefore been convened to make recommendations for consideration at the next Tripartite Meeting which will be convened in China during November 2017. The Tripartite structure has stimulated various streams of work over the years and the 2016 meeting reflected on the significant work that has recently been undertaken, while also reviewing current activities. 

One of the milestones reviewed by the meeting was the introduction of the IMO Goal Based Standards (GBS) for bulk carriers and oil tankers, which entered into force for ships contracted for construction from July 2016. In particular, the Tripartite Meetings have helped, over a five year period, to oversee inter-industry agreement about the handling of the content 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.
Among other Tripartite spin off groups, work is continuing on fuel data collection (as will be required by mandatory IMO and EU CO2 data collection systems), under the leadership of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS). There will also be further work on cyber risks and security, also being led by IACS but assisted by BIMCO which has led development of recent inter-industry guidance on the issue. 

During the meeting in October, ICS raised the importance of collating knowledge on likely ship efficiency improvements from shipbuilders so that better estimates can be made of CO2 reduction performance, and will lead work on this in the coming year. 

Reflecting on requirements directly arising from regulation, the 2016 meeting also agreed that ICS should initiate the collection of experience with the fitting/retrofitting and operation of ballast water treatment equipment, and that Intercargo would lead work to develop appropriate designs for incorporating on board storage/disposal facilities for HME (Hazardous to the Marine Environment) cargo residues, and HME cargo hold washing water. Meanwhile, the Active Shipbuilding Experts’ Federation (ASEF) and SEA Europe have initiated discussion on human element issues, in particular on training requirements arising out of innovative technologies.

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