What are goal-based standards?

Goal based standards(GBS) are high level excellence & methods that are to be met through regulations, rules & standards for the ships.  GBS are consists of at least one goal, functional requirement related with that goal, & verification of conformity that rules meet the functional needs including objectives.  In order to meet the objectives & functional needs, classification societies acts as recognized organizations (ROs) and national authorities will develop rules & regulations correspondingly.  These complete requirements become a part of the GBS framework when they have been approved, by independent auditors & suitable IMO organs, as satisfying to the Goal based standards(GBS).

Earlier in the year 1990s, the Maritime Safety Committee(MSC) admit that the oppressive based rule were unable to manage with the new ship design challenges & took action to include the goal based ideas into the technical rules of the Safety of Life at the Sea Convention (SOLAS).  IMO has since been face important changes in the way it reaches the regulation of ship design. The increasing speed of computers has opened a new world for designers & researchers &, as a result, IMO Member Governments have started begin safety from a completely new approach– one that is objective & performance oriented,in place of the conventional prescriptive based approach, considering the sophisticated nature of the maritime industry.

The basic principles of IMO goal-based standards/regulations are:

  • Broad, over-arching safety, environmental and/or security standards that  ships are required to meet during their lifecycle.
  • The required level to be accomplished by the requirements used by class societies & other recognized organizations, authorities & the IMO.
  • Clear, proven, verifiable, long lasting, implementable & achievable, disregarding of ship design & technology.
  • Determined enough in order not to be open to differing conclusions.

The above basic principles were appear to be applicable to all goal based standards developed by the IMO & not only to ship construction standards in the future, the IMO may expand goal based standards for other safety areas, e.g. machinery, equipment, fire protection, etc., as well as security & environment protection linked areas, & that all goal based standards(GBS) improved by the Organization should imitate the same basic principles.  The latest IMO instruments using the GBS idea are the Polar Code, IGF Code & Goal based ship construction standards for the bulk carriers & oil tankers. 

 Goal based ship construction standards for bulk carriers & oil tankers & the GBS documentation audit scheme

The Maritime Safety Committee(MSC), at its 87th session in the year May 2010, accepted a new SOLAS regulation II-1/3-10 on the Goal based ship construction standards for bulk carriers & oil tankers (resolution MSC.290(87)).  This regulation, which enforced on the 1st Jan. 2012, need that all oil tankers & bulk carriers of 150 m in length & more, for which the building contract is placed on or after 1st July 2016, assure relevant structural requirements following to the functional requirements of the International Goal based Ship Construction Standards for Bulk Carriers & Oil Tankers (GBS Standards) (resolution MSC.287(87)).

 In the GBS Standards, manufacture rules for  the bulk carriers & oil tankers of the classification societies which act as recognized organizations(ROs) will be certified, by the international GBS Audit Teams formed by the IMO’s Secretary General, depends on the Guidelines for verification of conformity with goal based ship construction standards for bulk carriers & oil tankers (resolution MSC.296(87)).  These recommendation predict that the recognized organizations & national maritime authorities submit requests for the validation of their ship construction rules to the Secretary General, who will put forward these plea to the Audit Teams to be formed for the verification of the submitted information through an independent review.  The final reports of the Teams with relevant suggestion are then put forward to the MSC for consideration & approval.