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MMO5003 Modern ship design: Safety, Limitations and Hazards

Course description for academic year 2023/2024

Contents and structure

The course emphasizes on:

  • The understanding of physical phenomenon, such as the meteorological and oceanographic conditions at sea and ship motions under influence of waves
  • Ship stability in intact conditions and after accidental situations.
  • Sustainebility of maritime operations
  • Limitation of emission from ships
  • 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.
  • Qualitative risk analysis of potential challanging situations for vessels

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 referred to for this part of the course.

YouTube videos will be used to introduce important aspects of the course. The course will refer to 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, examples
    • 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
    • Information about relevant computer program for ship motions and for vessel geometry

Learning Outcome


The student:

  • Knows important stability issues.
  • Knows operational issues related to safe ship handling.
  • Has practical understanding of how wind, wave, structual damage and fire affect ship stability.
  • Knows how different cargoes influence on ship stability.
  • Knows the particulars of different types of fuel.
  • Knows the trends in modern ship design and operations practice.


The student:

  • Can use modern stability documentation.
  • Can select the optimum type of fuel for a vessel.
  • Understand the implications of weather conditions.
  • Understand the needs to focus on safety in design and operations.
  • Can identify hazardous situations and identify mitigating measures to reduce the risk.
  • Can ensure that modern vessels must comply with international rules and regulations.
  • Understand the needs for safe maintenance practice.

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 participate in a discussion related to selection of fuel system.
  • Can communicate about design and operational related issues with both specialists and the public.
  • Has the foundation to acquire new and more advanced knowledge related to ship design and operation.

Entry requirements


Recommended previous knowledge

A bridging course in stability of vessels for students without a nautical background (will be held prior to the first lecture week). This course is strongly recommended for admitted students having no or limited nautical or maritime background.

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 risk in maritime operations
  • Discussions in class are encouraged

Compulsory learning activities

The student must attend physically in class in Haugesund at least 1 of 3 course sessions.

The student must pass HVL's module for academic integrity (will be specified at study start).


Portfolio assessment, 3 mandatory assignments. The weighting of the assigments will be specified at study start.

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