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Risk based inspection system for structural inspection of ships

Risk based inspection system for structural inspection of ships

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

Project leader

Professor Bob Dow (PI)

Dr Jonathan Downes


October 2008 to March 2013


European Commission (FP7)


Structural failures of ships are, relative to onshore structures, are very common. 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. This reduces the strength of the ship structure. It's kept safe through regular inspection. Also by 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.

The problem is how to use information from a large numbers of ships to improve the inspection planning of any given ship.

Reliability or Risk-based methods applied in other industries are not applicable to this problem.

The RISPECT project develops and demonstrates an improved decision making method.

It's based on a combination of the following:

  • Experience based methods
  • First principles based methods
  • Statistical and reliability based analysis

This is 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. Also the development of fast analysis methods. These are suitable for use within a risk-based inspection methodology.