ABS, LR pool technical strengths in new venture

A new milestone in collaboration between classification societies was signalled earlier this year by the release of jointly-developed software for use by ship designers, shipyards and shipowners in complying with the IACS Common Structural Rules(CSR), writes David Tinsley.

The common software prepared by ABS and Lloyd’s Register will assist naval architects in assessing that new designs of bulk carrier and oil tanker meet CSR requirements.

The parallel initiative was the creation of a joint venture company, Common Structural Rules Software LLC, which has dedicated office space in the societies’ respective headquarters in Houston and London. The new entity will maintain the newly-released software and develop new common software to evaluate vessels designed to comply with the harmonised CSR that will be submitted for industry review in 2012, as part of the work towards the IMO’s Goal-Based Standards.

Co-operation between the two organisations goes back a decade, when the ground was laid for the CSR development programme, completed in 2005. “It was always our vision that the next step would be the common software,” said ABS chairman Robert D. Somerville. “The joint venture will help to drive the final step--the adoption of common software by other societies. It is ABS’ and LR’s desire that other societies join this initiative,” added Somerville.

“We can only obtain consistency in CSR calculations through common software,” observed LR’s chief executive Richard Sadler, who also expressed the hope that other societies would support the project.

The software encompasses three products. CSR Stage 1 is the prescriptive rules software, a tool that enables rapid assessment of both double-hull tanker and bulker designs against the rule requirements. CSR TankCheck Stage 2 and CSR BulkCheck Stage 2 are the procedural rules software, addressing structural analysis of the respective types. The three modules are intended to achieve significant savings in time and cost, while promoting technical consistency, at the initial design stage.

The Common Structural Rules were not founded on any one society’s existing requirements, but reflected the experience of all IACS members, numbering 10 at the time of development. CSR was aimed at stamping out scantlings-based competition. The seminal project had challenged the societies to move beyond traditional rivalries and to harness individual technical strengths and capabilities to the good of the sector and the industry as a whole, without impinging on the ability of individual societies to compete on professional capabilities, competence and customer service.

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