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MMO5003 Modern ship design: Safety, Limitations and Hazards

Course description for academic year 2020/2021

Contents and structure

The course emphasizes on:

  • The understanding of physical phenomenon, such as the meteorological and oceanographic conditions at sea, ship motions under influence of waves, ship stability in intact conditions and after accidental situations.
  • Ship design for optimum performance
  • Accidental situations, such as situations with water ingress and fires
  • Management's role in safety of vessels at sea, including emergency response and evacuation.

 Some numerical understanding of the physics governing the safety of ships will be included.

Regulations regarding ship stability, fire protection, and fire extinguishing will be discussed and accident reports will be used as tools for this part of the course.

YouTube videos will be used to introduce important aspects of the course. The course will thereafter use real cases to highlight the various physical aspects.

Course Contents

  • The physical environment
    • The wave climate
      • Regular waves
      • Irregular waves
      • Breaking waves
      • Ocean currents
    • Wave spectra
    • Wind and wind gusts
  • The naval architect
    • Key considerations for vessel design, design basis
      • Buoyancy, load line
      • Center of gravity
      • Metacenter
    • Geometries of modern vessels
      • Bow design
      • Girder design) structural analysis
      • Double hull
      • Ballast design
        • Sloshing
    • Selection of engine type
    • Role of risk analysis in ship design
  • Vessel motions
    • The six degrees of freedom of motion
    • Response Amplitude Operators (RAOs)
    • Added mass and drag
    • Encounter frequency
    • Stabilizers
    • Ani-roll tanks
  • Ship Stability
    • Basics of initial stability
      • Flat bottom vessels
        • The design of the Viking ships
      • Vessels with triangular geometry
    • The GZ-curve
    • Intact stability
    • Dynamic stability
    • Damage stability
    • Twin-hull vessels
    • DNV rules and requirements
  • Role of management
    • Learnings from Gustav II Adolph's Wasa-ship.
    • Oil tanker Braer
  • Loss of stability
    • Concem
    • Overloaded passenger ferries
    • Estonia
    • Rockiness
    • Bourbon Dolohin
    • Gaul
  • Ship fire accidents
    • Structural fire requirements.
    • Detectors and alarm requirements.
    • Fixed and manual fire extinguishing systems.
      • Scandinavian Star accident
  • Aspects related to evacuation and rescue
    • Rescue means
    • Release of rescue means
  • Computer tools
    • Introduction to Orcaflex
    • Information about Computer program for true ship geometry

Learning Outcome


The student:

  • Knows important stability issues.
  • Knows operational issues related to safe ship handling.
  • Has practical understanding of how wind, wave, damage and fire affect ship stability.
  • Knows how different cargoes influence on ship stability.


The student:

  • Can use modern stability documentation in order to analyze:
    • Loading limitations.
    • Weather implications.
    • Stability for damaged ship.
    • Stability for ship at fire.

General Qualifications:

The student:

  • Can contribute to new thinking and development within the field of naval architecture
  • Understand and can discuss problems related to stability of floating devices.
  • Can analyze problems related to stability.
  • Can communicate about stability related issues with both specialists and the public.
  • Has the foundation to acquire new and more advanced knowledge related to stability.

Entry requirements


Recommended previous knowledge

NAB2022 Ship technology, NAB2028 Loading techniques or equivalent.

Expected pre-knowledge

  • General Notion of stability
  • Forces and Moments
  • Centre of gravity and center of Buoyancy
  • Stability curves
  • Hydrostatic curves

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials and practical assignments (related to naval architecture and implications on judgement of stability and structural fire-protection
  • Discussions in class are encouraged

Compulsory learning activities



Portfolio assessment, three mandatory assignments.

Grade A-F

Examination support material

All available aids allowed. The students shall adhere to normal scientific citation practice, and portfolio documents will be checked for plagiarism.

More about examination support material