The Hamburg Ship Model Basin

Setting the Standard in Ship Optimisation

Video 100 years

Quelle: Wikipedia (Die havarierte Amoco Cadiz)


Ship safety is the prime objective of any new vessel design. Whilst pushing the limits of operability and efficiency modern designs often pose new challenges to the safety level of ships. This requires constant research and development to improve current rules and regulations and adapt design standards to new requirements.

The following links provide more information on Ship Safety related research projects:

  • LiquefAction: Cargo Liquefaction in Ship Design and Operation
  • GOALDS: GOAL based Damage Stability

LiquefAction: Cargo Liquefaction in Ship Design and Operation


The LiquefAction project addresses the problem of iron ore fine cargo liquefaction on board bulk carriers under certain conditions. In the past these lead to fatal accidents and a significant number of ships were lost in the short period between 2007 and 2013 only. The ships capsized due to liquefaction of its cargo, i.e. change of state from solid to high density liquid, a phenomenon associated with ore cargo turning into liquid under a combination of moisture in the cargo holds, ship motions and vibration. The problem is well known to ship designers when large quantities of liquids with free surface onboard a ship exert uncontrolled shift of its centre of gravity (especially in heavy seas) and result in rapid loss of stability with catastrophic outcomes.

At international level, the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code represents a consistent effort to address the problem, and as far as it is known no cargo has been liquefied when the provisions of the Code were properly followed. Despite such provisions, the ambiguity associated with cargo testing and characterisation continues to raise concerns, especially when it is combined with the inability to test or non-compliance with the Code from the shippers' side, or when inappropriate cargo is shipped. Conducive to this situation is the seemingly erratic occurrence of liquefaction, and the ensuing motion of the bulk material in the cargo holds that results in substantial impairment of the stability of the ship.

LiquefAction addresses the liquefaction problem (both at design and operational phases of dry cargo ships) by conducting a comprehensive study to understand the inception of this phenomenon and its effects on ship stability. Based on extensive experience and accident data, numerical modelling and simulation concerning the behaviour of granular cargoes (like iron and nickel ore) in various modes of motion will be validated by laboratory experiments. The outcomes will be used as input for the dynamic stability assessment of bulk carriers and general cargo ships under sea conditions similar to those recorded at the time of various accidents. The outcomes of the project will be (i) a set of guidelines, procedures and "tools" pertaining to prevention and mitigation of liquefaction and its effects for cargo with excessive moisture (despite the Code provisions) during its transportation, and (ii) coupling of these to existing best practice concerning ship design, and operation and cargo handling.

LiquefAction is a joint European project conducted in the MARTEC framework. Partners include the Ecole Central de Nantes (ECN) and the Institut français des sciences et technologies des transports, de l'aménagement et des réseaux (IFSTTAR) from France and TUHH in Hamburg. The project is further supported by ClassNK from Japan, the German Ministry of Transport and bulk carrier operators Oldendorff Carriers in Germany.

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GOALDS - Goal Based Damage Stability

The new probabilistic damage stability regulations for dry cargo and passenger ships (SOLAS 2009), which entered into force on January 1, 2009, represent a major step forward in achieving an improved safety standard through the rationalization and harmonization of damage stability requirements. There are, however, serious concerns regarding the adopted formulation for the calculation of the survival probability of ROPAX and mega cruise vessels. Furthermore, present damage stability regulations account only for collision damages, despite the fact that accident statistics indicate the importance of grounding accidents.

The proposed research project addresses the above issues by:

  • Improving and extending the formulation introduced by MSC 216 (82) for the assessment of the probability of survival of ROPAX and mega cruise ships in damaged condition, based on extensive use of numerical simulations.
  • Performing comprehensive model testing to investigate the process of ship stability deterioration in damaged condition and to provide the required basis for the validation of the numerical simulation results.
  • Elaborating damage statistics and probability functions for the damage location, length, breadth and penetration in case of a collision / grounding accident, based on a thorough review of available information regarding these accidents over the past 30-60 years worldwide.
  • Formulating a new probabilistic damage stability concept for ROPAX and cruise ships, incorporating collision and grounding damages, along with an improved method for calculation of the survival probability. Establishing new risk-based damage stability requirements of ROPAX and cruise vessels based on a cost/benefit analysis to establish the highest level for the required subdivision index.
  • Investigating the impact of the new formulation for the probabilistic damage stability evaluation of passenger ships on the design and operational characteristics of a typical set of ROPAX and cruise vessel designs (case studies). Preparing and submitting a summary of results and recommendations to IMO for consideration (end of project, year 2012).

The GOALDS project was funded by the EU Commission in the 7th Framework Programme.

Partners: Country:
National Technical University of Athens (Coordinator) NTUA-SDL Greece
University of Strathclyde SSRC United Kingdom
Germanischer Lloyd AG GL Germany
Det Norske Veritas DNV Norway
Safety at Sea SaS United Kingdom
Lloyds Register of Shipping LR United Kingdom
Hamburg Ship Model Basin HSVA Germany
Vienna Model Basin VMB Austria
Danish Maritime Authority DMA Denmark
Maritime and Coastguard Agency MCA United Kingdom
University of Trieste DINMA Italy
STX France Cruise SA STX FR France
FINCANTIERI Cantieri Navali Italiani S.p.A. FC Italy
Color Line CL Norway
Carnival PLC CAR United Kingdom
RCL (UK) Ltd. RCL United Kingdom
STX Finland Cruise Oy STX FIN Finland

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