Ships in port

Risk decision tool for the maritime industry

The unique operational characteristics of maritime engineering systems, such as ocean-going ships, port terminals and offshore installations, make for a challenging environment when it comes to assessing risk and supporting decision making. Research at LJMU has led to significant advances in risk and security-based decision making which have had an impact on the maritime industry at home and overseas.

The maritime industry has been moving towards a pro-active, risk-based, goal-setting regime from a largely prescriptive approach. In such a movement, risk assessment-based decision models would have to be developed to address issues associated with incompleteness, fuzziness and ambiguity of data for use due to the unique operational characteristics of maritime engineering systems. The creative thinking involved in developing novel concepts and methods based on a variety of models using data under uncertainty has pioneered the research in risk-based decision making of large maritime system operations. LJMU’s Liverpool Logistics Offshore and Marine (LOOM) Research Institute has investigated a variety of techniques, such as evidential reasoning and multiple criteria decision-making, in the development of analysis models leading to the creation of a holistic risk-based decision support tool.

LOOM’s research led to the development of a new engineering safety training business in high-risk industries, including the marine and offshore sectors, through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership project with Risktec Solutions Ltd. Risktec became the only commercial provider of a university-validated MSc in risk and safety management for high-hazard industries, offering a structured educational programme with a choice of 30 modules, delivered jointly by practising Risktec consultants and LJMU academics. This generated £1.2 million of new business for Risktec from 2011 to 2012.

Research also influenced the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s update of its Fishing Vessel Code of Practice, influencing fishing vessels in the UK and those operating in international waters: ‘The update of its code of practice for fishing vessels has a large impact on fishing operations worldwide’.

LOOM’s work into developing a risk assessment-based approach for assessing vessel traffic risks at pilotage in congested waters has been used by Shanghai Pilot Station which deals with thousands of large ships annually. The research has led to the reduction of pilotage related vessel traffic incidents between 2010-2012, with estimated savings of more than £1 million each year.

Find out more about the research within the Liverpool Logistics Offshore and Marine Research Institute.

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