The ability of most modern navies to sustain their own naval standards has degraded to the point where they must look for alternatives. These alternatives must not only deliver against the provisions of naval standards but against the greater safety and technical governance requirements that navies find themselves subject to both at home and internationally. The challenges of naval ship safety assurance have evolved and many navies have engaged with industry to manage these challenges.
The pure commercial off-the-shelf model of classification does not adequately provide the specific levels of assurance required by today’s modern navies.
Lloyd’s Register (LR), having being engaged by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) in the late 1990s, has recognised these challenges and supports navies around the world in the naval ship safety assurance arena applying naval classification and naval Rules and also by looking at the broader requirements of naval ship safety assurance.
This supports the navies’ efforts and supplements their limited resources, allowing them to be confident in the material state of their ships and consequently their safety.
The Chairman of LR’s Naval Ship Technical Committee, Rear Admiral Nigel Guild, in his introduction to the guide states: “These services are deeply rooted in the processes that govern commercial shipping – the major regulatory process being compliance with international conventions from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) – but they also recognise the unique operational expectations of naval ships and the higher levels of risk that navies will tolerate when called on to deliver their military capability.”
Naval ship safety assurance also draws on the legislation which governs commercial shipping. While warships are exempt in strict legal terms from the requirements of the IMO’s Safety of Life at Sea
Convention (SOLAS), it can significantly contribute to naval ship safety when applied practically through the Naval Ship Code and naval classification.
This guide details the role that LR plays in the safety assurance process for naval ships. This role is much wider, and more complex, than just the application of prescribed classification Rules and Regulations.
LR can also support naval projects from the earliest user requirement and concept stages (before the point at which classification traditionally becomes involved) through to operation and disposal.