Friday, December 7, 2012

New Tanker and Bulk Freight Carrier Construction Rules Spark Software Development

American Bureau of Shipping and Lloyd's Register Get Ahead of the Game
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – Industry feedback from shipyards, designers and shipowners on the first draft of the harmonised International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) Common Structural Rules for tankers and bulk freight carriers (CSR-H) has highlighted its common concerns that the expanded scope of the proposed new Rules could significantly slow the design process and increase associated costs if class societies everywhere do not provide more advanced software to handle the required analyses. These views were expressed at joint IACS and industry seminars, held in order to gather industry input on the new rules.

In 2011, the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and Lloyd’s Register (LR) established CSR Software LLC (CSRS), a joint venture to provide harmonised structural analysis software to the freight industry. Aidan O’Donnell, Managing Director of CSRS, said:

“As well as harmonising the existing IACS common structural rules for tankers and bulk carriers, the CSR-H will provide compliance with the relevant aspects of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Goal Based Standards requirement. To assist industry with this change, it is essential that designers be provided with more advanced software, properly aligned with the final rules, that can handle the required analysis and mitigate the time and cost required to determine compliance with the new Rules.”

Shipyards have made it clear that they want to be provided with software that is comprehensive, fast, simple-to-use and defect-free from the outset and CSRS is working closely with industry representatives towards that goal well in advance of the implementation date of the new rules. One of the lessons learned from the release of the existing set of rules for tankers and bulk carrier construction is the importance of having mature software aligned with the final version of the requirements before they come into effect. Dhruba Ghose, Operations Director of CSRS commented:

“Appropriate software will assist designers in streamlining the process, helping to control costs and manpower requirements when addressing the expanded scope of analysis required by CSR-H. At CSRS, we are following a rigorous quality process that accounts for requirements traceability through the development life cycle, extensive documentation and user acceptance testing and verification prior to each external release.”

O’Donnell says that inevitably the final development of the associated software must lag behind the finalisation of the Rules themselves adding that changes to the draft Rules require changes to the software so this will become an ongoing project. He continued by saying that it does not mean designers cannot work with CSRS to use the company’s in-house capability to run preliminary analyses of developing designs to verify that the users are on the right track.

For the full realisation of CSR-H benefits, it is important that the available design analysis software packages produce consistent and reliable results and ultimately common scantlings*. This is the impetus for the ABS/LR common software project as it will provide the confidence and standard reference points demanded by shipyards, ship designers and ship owners. Ghose continues:

“The first implementation of Common Rules with multiple software packages was less than satisfactory and the industry has been clear that they would prefer a more unified approach by class to this issue. That is why we established CSRS and why we have invited all the other members of IACS to join us as partners. We are encouraged by the level of interest that is being shown by some of the other societies who realise the tremendous cost and effort that is required to develop and maintain their own suite of software.”

*Scantlings indicate how much structural strength in the form of girders, beams, etc. is in each given section. Scantling length refers to the structural length of a ship whilst a full scantling vessel can access all areas of its cargo holds and decks using just its own fitted gear,