The Multi-Facet Nature of OSV’s Stability

Aiping Du and Gang Yi

American Bureau of Shipping, Singapore


The size and functionality of offshore support vessels (OSVs) have evolved substantially over the last decade and as such, it sometimes appears unreasonable to put them in a single category for regulatory purposes. The challenge can be captured in the following question: can the same set of IMO regulations developed primarily for cargo ships, be reasonably applied to OSVs across its genre? While there are both yes and no answers to the question, one aspect of regulatory requirements stands out: stability, both intact and damage. IMO has long recognized the need for a unique set of intact and damage stability criteria for OSVs and issued that as part of IMO Resolution A.469(VII) in 1981. While this document was updated in 2006 by IMO Resolution MSC.235(82), the regulatory process has yet to comprehensively address the issue of stability such that it aligns with the multi-facet functions these vessels are designed for and called upon to conduct. More recently, the attention to the application of IMO Special Purpose Ship (SPS) Code has added another dimension to the complexity. This paper discusses the development of stability criteria for OSVs, including the regulatory developments, the functional roles and the demands these roles have on stability considerations, the multi-facet nature of OSV stability and common design issues.

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