The Maritime Safety Research Centre was officially opened this week by the IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim, who looked at how the MSRC could play a role in the shift of maritime safety from empirical to risk-informed legislation and goal-based standards. Mr Lim was joined at the ceremony by Harri Kulovaara, Executive Vice President Maritime & Newbuilding, RCCL, Lanfranco Benedetti, EC DG Mobility & Transport, Maritime Safety, Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Strathclyde, and Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of DNV GL – Maritime.
“The world of shipping is undergoing a major transformation. Moving forward, our industry will still be at the heart of global trade, bringing people together and keeping the world’s economy growing. But the industry itself, the vessels, the infrastructure, and the systems that connect them are likely to change substantially – as will regulatory and societal pressure with regards to maritime safety,” said Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen at the launching ceremony.
“In this setting, classification societies have an ever more important role to play, helping the various stakeholders in the maritime arena understand the new reality and complexity by focusing on interfaces, developing effective safety barriers and ensuring that these remain effective throughout the life of the vessel. Equally as important is enhanced capability for medium and long-term research, addressing the impact of increased complexity and of increasing societal expectations for human safety and environmental impact. Our partnership with Strathclyde will provide the engine for this and fuel developments to address emerging needs,” he said.
The goal of the MSRC is to contribute to safer waterborne operations through the development and implementation of a life-cycle risk management approach, accounting rationally and formally for all cost-effective measures of risk reduction, both active and passive. The MSRC’s efforts are directed at cost-effective safety improvements for new and existing ships and offshore units. It will also promote safety culture and continuous development of the regulatory framework. Research areas will include: safety and security of complex systems onboard ships, dynamic barrier management, ship stability, intact and damage stability of cruise ships, safety culture, fire protection and prevention, and blackout prevention.
“The time is ripe for adopting a new model by reconstituting a centre of excellence for maritime safety. In this new centre, the vision, and long- and short-term goals are set, shared and served through close collaboration between industry and academia to target a truly interdisciplinary, common-threaded R&D. Our research activities are strategically focused, ensuring that academic excellence is combined with strong industrial engagement,” said the Director of the MSRC and Professor of Maritime Safety, Dracos Vassalos.