70+ stakeholders work together in TopTier project on securing container safety
Jun 3, 2021
On May 18, 2021 the TopTier Joint Industry Project was kicked off by MARIN with an online meeting attended by over 70 representatives.
The objective of this three year project is to drastically reduce the number of containers lost overboard by large container vessels and re-establish the confidence in safe operations that is needed for the coming years as innovations continue. The still expanding consortium of stakeholders in the project includes flagstate administrations, major carriers, class, insurance, gear makers, ship yards, IT suppliers and branch organisations. The group brings together the expertise that is needed to review transport safety by the complex product of its underlying aspects: shore based logistics, container and lashing hardware, software and technology, vessel handling at sea and the regulatory framework that is in place to ensure compliance to minimal required standards.
The project will focus on different aspects:
The effect of uncertainties arising in the stowage planning and loading stage as VGM, stacking arrangement, ISO/CSC coding, screening condition of containers, corner castings and lashing gear;
Verification of realistic extreme “in design” limits and load calculation models accounting for the huge varying loading conditions, GM and flexibility of modern ships and their high stacked stacks;
Ensuring that “off design” conditions as parametric roll can be successfully avoided.
Raise awareness and assist crews with insight in the actual load levels in relation to acceptable limits that are not easily or intuitively available;
Potential impact of the combined effects on the safety margins and ultimate strength ratings;
Most important aspect is how to specify and implement quality requirements for these different aspects in a regulatory frame that can be enforced top down to have the wide impact that is needed for a safe and level playing field.
Phase 1 (summer 2021) addresses the current practice, recent large scale incidents and a gap analysis in order to report first recommendations for operational improvements before fall. Phase 2 will include investigations such as lab testing and measurements campaigns on board, covering each of the above aspects. In Phase 3 new technologies, design rates, calculation models and best practice will be developed and verified. Finally in Phase 4 the findings will be implemented and submitted to international regulatory bodies such as IMO, ISO and IACS through- and supported by- participating organizations.