Generic Ship, Specific Ship? Towards Risk-based Approaches to Maritime Regulation
Over the years safety has become a top issue in maritime transport. International safety and environmental protection regulations are developed under the auspices of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The current international regulatory framework mainly consists of so called prescriptive regulations. From that perspective, the regulator imposes the technical solutions, derived from experience and scientific principles, to be used by the industry. However, this regulatory framework has been put into question: the main drawbacks denounced being over-regulation and fragmentation of the regulatory framework, and an industry compliance culture. In the recent years, the importance of risk management in decision making has been recognised. Following the Herald of Free Enterprise tragic capsize, a new vision was argued together with the need for a radical change in the safety regulation approach in terms of Safety Case regime. Since then, safety initiatives have incorporated risk concepts and analysis. However, there has been a long history of resistance to the maritime Safety Case (in which regulations have to rely on a joint effort of regulators and the industry: regulators have to set the standards to be reached and an operator has to make a detailed case demonstrating the safety of his operation on an individual ship basis). As an alternative to the Safety Case a new approach called Formal Safety Assessment (FSA) was developed within IMO to support regulation development. As stated in FSA Guidelines , “Formal Safety Assessment (FSA) is a structured and systematic methodology, aimed at enhancing maritime safety, including protection of life, health, the marine environment and property, by using risk analysis and cost benefit assessment” in the evaluation of new regulations.
KeywordsRegulatory Framework International Maritime Organisation Bulk Carrier Prescriptive Regulation Maritime Safety
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