Workshop on Goal Based Standards

As previously reported, in the aftermath of the Prestige accident and as a result of other serious tanker and bulk carrier accidents, the IMO decided to develop a set of overarching goals according to which ships should be designed and built. This development is called the “Goal-Based New Ship Construction Standards” or in short Goal-Based Standards (GBS). Its initial intention has been to introduce new standards for ship design and ship construction.  

The basic principles are that design and building standards should be sufficient to enable a properly maintained ship to continue to provide a safe service until the end of its economic life. The IMO considered that there could be two main opinions on how these GBS should be formulated:  

(1)              a set of standards for new and improved current design criteria (a deterministic approach);

(2)              a more holistic approach, based on a Formal Safety Assessment concept (risk-based concept) which would require a significant change of the many of the IMO current regulations.  

The latter would obviously require a longer time frame and thus it appears that the two methods may be developed in parallel. INTERTANKO is of the opinion that GBS should be developed as soon as possible and therefore endorses the first approach. 

As part of these developments, a one-day workshop on GBS was organised this week with the participation of the IMO/MSC Chairman, Tom Allan, and the Chairman of the IMO Working Group on GBS. Some 40 participants listened to six presentations and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the two approaches. Further focus was put on the verification process for compliance of any rules with the forthcoming GBS.  

INTERTANKO was represented by Technical Director Dragos Rauta. A copy of his presentation can be viewed on the INTERTANKO web site at:


Contact: Dragos Rauta