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SHI-built MSC Napoli found to have design flaw

SHI-built MSC Napoli found to have design flaw

London: An investigation by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) into the accident involving the Samsung Heavy Industry-built MSC Napoli in January 2007 has identified 'the vessel's design rather than her material condition or construction' as partly responsible for the accident.

Although the MAIB also attributed the ship's speed and loading as causes for the damage to the 4,419teu vessel, it has 'recommended a review of the technical rules used in container ship design.' The design flaw is said to be present in at least 12 other containerships of the same specifications.

However, Det Norske Veritas (DNV), which has classed the 1991-built MSC Napoli since 2002, is of the opinion that the design flaw is not an industry problem.

'The accident's cause is not a general problem for the container shipping industry at large,' Per Wiggo Richardsen, senior information manager for DNV Maritime told SeatradeAsia-Online. 'However, minor structural modifications have to be made to a very restricted number of the existing container ship fleet.'

'We class two of the vessels that the findings apply to and we have already devised a plan for modifications with the owners. It is now up to them to take the necessary steps,' he added.

'This is a minor structural modification which may be done afloat and only involves a small amount of steel,' stated Olav Nortun, DNV Maritime's technical director. 'Alternatively, the still water bending moment may be reduced by modifying the loading conditions.'

Making observations about the incident involving the MSC Napoli, DNV concluded that the buckling strength in the forward part of the ship's engine room was insufficient. Additionally, the fact that the loading exceeded the capacity of the hull girder played an important role in the incident.

Accordingly, DNV has invited all members of the International Association of Class Societies (IACS) to cooperate on a unified approach to dealing with the newbuilding rules and procedures

 The classification society believes that its findings demonstrate that the strength of this particular ship was less than that of similar vessels and the probability of an accident similar to the MSC Napoli recurring is very small.

'As the vessel's class society, our best resources - both people and cutting-edge computer tools - were put on the job from day one. We've left no stone unturned and I'm convinced that this accident and the investigation following it have made the shipping industry even safer,' Nortun adds.  [23/04/08]