School of Engineering



Risk-Based Expert System for Through – Life Ship Structural Inspection and Maintenance and New-Build Ship Structural Design (RISPECT)

Structural failures of ships are, relative to onshore structures, very common and these contribute to the personal risk levels of mariners, and high pollution and economic costs. Ships operate in a severely corroding and (metal) fatiguing environment that reduces the strength of the ship structure which can only be kept safe by regular inspection and repair of paint coatings, excessively corroded plate and fatigue cracks.

Present inspection planning, and feedback to design, is based on long term experience with usually no account taken of the needs of any specific ship. Reliability or Risk-based methods, applied in other industries, are not applicable to this problem of using information from large numbers of ships to improve the inspection planning of any given ship.

The RISPECT project aims to develop and demonstrate an improved decision making method based on a combination of experience based and first principles based methods, statistical and reliability based analysis for the safe, cost effective structural inspection, repair and design-rule improvement of existing ships.

Newcastle is responsible for the structural analysis undertaken within the project and development of fast analysis methods suitable for use within a risk based inspection methodology.