Unstable criteria

ITIC insured a naval architect in Australia, who was also insured as a surveyor for small commercial vessel coding approval on behalf of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

The naval architect was appointed to design a fuel barge that was to carry 37,000 litres of fuel. The naval architect was experienced in designing small passenger vessels and applied the same simplified stability criteria to the barge as they would for passenger vessels. This did not take into account the fuel cells that had to be carried on the hull form.

A peculiarity in the AMSA coding system is that a surveyor can sign off their own stability calculations. Therefore, no third party verified them. When the shipyard carried out a stability load test on the finished fuel barge there was excessive heeling. As a result the barge was re-rated and was only authorised to carry 11,000 litres, which was only 30% of the design criteria. The yard estimated that the cost to rectify the design mistake would be AU$ 258,000.

ITIC appointed an independent surveyor to review the rectification costs and they were found to be fair and reasonable. ITIC therefore reimbursed the AU$ 258,000.

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