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May 18, 2004

BV backs new design tool for high speed safety

Bureau Veritas says the safety and cost-effectiveness of high-speed craft will be enhanced by a new design tool that will be launched in June.

The Safety at Speed (S@S) tool has been developed by a consortium of fifteen companies backed by EU research funding.

Bureau Veritas was the work package leader, and together with the University of Newcastle, was responsible for the vision and planning thatallowed the tool to be developed on time and on budget.

"This S@S design tool will help designers, class societies, yards and government authorities to evaluate high-speed craft at an early design stage, improving safety and cost-effectiveness," explains Pierre Besse, research director of Bureau Veritas. "S@S has been a very successful example of cooperation between companies and research institutes to harness complementary strengths. We now intend to extend that c-operation and the methodologies we have developed to produce a flexible and cost-effective framework for the design and approval all ship types

The aims of the EU-funded S@S project were to develop new design tools and methodologies that would raise the profile of safety issues at the very beginning of the design process. Bureau Veritas says these aims have been exceeded with the delivery of a semi-automated design tool capable of evaluating the safety level and cost of a High Speed Craft at the preliminary design stage.

The need for this project was derived from the EU's attempts to alleviate highway congestion, The EU Common Transport Policy endorses the use of waterborne craft to ease onshore congestion. This has helped create an increase in demand for High Speed Craft (HSC).

"We need more high-speed ferries, and more innovative ship designs to solve our traffic problems on the roads," says Besse. "But the history of high-speed craft is quite short, so designers, yards and regulators have very little experience to draw upon. This in turn has created new concerns of how the safety of HSC can be assured when there is a lack of historical data against which to assess new projects. S@S goes a long way to helping overcome that lack of data by building in first principles at the design review stage."

The S@S consortium is made up of 15 partners spread throughout the EU. The partners come from all areas of the marine industry including universities, designers/ builders, class and operators. The integration and technical management of the project, provided by Bureau Veritas and the University of Newcastle with the support of the co-ordinator, FORCE Technology, has provided the driving vision behind the project.

Through the use of pre-planned technical workshops and open discussion sessions the project has been able to identify the significant advances required, and the necessary strategies for delivering them, with the result that the project aims have been achieved, and even exceeded in places, both on time and on budget.

The core of the consortium, led by Bureau Veritas and the University of Newcastle, plans to further exploit the results of this research and development activity by extending the methodology. This will both increase the scope of the methodology to other vessel types, and increase the accuracy of the procedures, so enabling the tool to be used beyond the preliminary design phase to form a flexible and cost-effective framework for the design and approval all ship types.

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