The new probabilistic and more risk based subdivision and damage stability rules brought many changes and more flexibility to the subdivision requirements for passenger ship designs. Whilst designers are still adapting to the fundamentally changed SOLAS requirements, applicable from January 1, 2009, many additional items remain on the agenda of IMO addressing the stability of passenger ships. Additional damage stability regulations for ro-ro passenger ships, requirements towards stability and sea-keeping characteristics of damaged passenger ships in a seaway when returning to port by own power or under tow, as well as guidance on the impact of open watertight doors on existing and new ship survivability are among the topics currently being addressed. These could have considerable impact on future passenger- and ro-ro passenger vessel designs.
The IMO/SLF has been tasked to examine the impact of the damage stability requirements of the SOLAS 2009 amendments on ro-ro passenger ships, in comparison with the SOLAS 1990 regulations in association with the Stockholm Agreement. The impact of the new damage stability requirements on ro-ro passenger ships is being reviewed and possible enhancements are being identified. New design and damage stability criteria for passenger ships for safe return to port by own power or under tow are being reviewed. Guidelines for operational information for masters of passenger ships for safe return to port by own power or under tow are being prepared and requirements for safety tools are being established. This could lead to a new level of safety requirement for this vessel type.