DNV Responds: Class Societies and Ship Design Do Not Mix – Agreed

The following is a response to a recently published article here on gCaptain titled “ABS Chief: Class Societies and Ship Design Do Not Mix” where ABS President and Chief Executive Officer Christopher J. Wiernicki warns of the dangers associated with mixing class and ship design. 

DNV's concept tanker design, "Triality". Image © DNV

By Lars Petter Blikom, DNV

I was a bit surprised to read in a gcaptain article that the head of one of our main competitors, ABS, does not approve very much of our recent ventures into ship concept studies. In an interview, ABS CEO Mr Wiernicki states that “if ABS were to promote an in-house design for an energy-efficient tanker, how could we retain our integrity if we were then to approve that same design for construction?”. Firstly, it is good that Mr Wiernicki acknowledges Triality as an “energy-efficient tanker”.

Secondly, I want to point out that there is a fundamental difference between “designing a ship” and doing “concept studies”. A concept study is intended to compare various options and indicate performance improvements from novel solutions and technologies. It is not like you can just go ahead and build Triality based on our concept study. The ship has not yet been designed! And DNV is not planning to design it. We even expect it never to be built exactly as presented in our concept. We have pointed out a few novel concepts, i.e. LNG propulsion, VOC recovery, and a ballast free hull shape. The next step is that a design house or a yard designs a ship, incorporating some or all of these concepts, combines them with their own ideas, and finalizes drawings for a complete ship. I do not see how DNV would be in a conflict situation by doing class approval for such a ship!

It is also the case in the shipping industry, that the class societies are among the actors sitting on the most information and experience about the technical and environmental performance of ships. I think it is beneficial both for the shipping industry and the environment that we share this information back to the industry, and the best way to do this is through R&D and innovation projects. Through these activities we can demonstrate the opportunities that lies in new technology and novel concepts.

So, in order to assist the shipping industry towards an even better environmental performance, it would be much beneficial for us all if Mr Wiernicki had a more competitive approach to our concept studies – Mr Wiernicki, I challenge you to come up with a tanker concept more efficient than Triality!

This article originally appeared on DNV’s LNG: Energy of the Future blog and is republished here with permission.