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The University of Southampton

SESS6068 Marine Safety and Environmental Engineering

Module Overview

This module introduces, develops and examines an emerging engineer’s capability of becoming a responsible engineer – to human life, marine structures, cargo and the maritime environment. It addresses deep learning in the systematic methods of risk assessment and reliability, from the perception of risk to the quantification and mitigation of risk. Unfamiliar ways of looking at the design and operation of engineered systems are explored and used in a practical sense through group projects, disseminated to and assessed by their peers in a manner that will be increasingly more familiar during their professional lives. The holistic approach to design encompasses the need for drawing together project teams to identify design requirements, possible system failures, consequences, redesign and financial implications of design and operation choices and communicating effectively with management and end users.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Acquire a thorough understanding of quantitative risk assessment methods and their use as part of the decision making process in both maritime design and operations. • Appreciate the environmental impact of maritime engineering activities and methods by which the impact can be minimised. • Describe the techniques of analysis for examining the consequences of system failure and for minimising/mitigating effect on environment/personnel/equipment. • Appreciate the importance of active safety management and the increasing need to account for the impact of maritime activities on the environment.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Probability and statistical theory applied to safety, risk and reliability.
  • Reliability and structural reliability.
  • Safety management principles and practice and importance of human factors.
  • Principles of environmental impact assessment
  • Quantitative risk assessment methods and their use as part of the decision making process in both maritime design and operations.
  • The environmental impact of maritime engineering activities and methods by which the impact can be minimised.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Assess ship and offshore collisions.
  • Solve maritime engineering design and operations in the context of safety and environmental impact based on fundamental principles and use of latest analysis techniques.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Use quantified risk analysis as a framework for solving problems involving uncertainty.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Apply risk analysis techniques to engineering problems


Introduction to Safety, Risk and Reliability: An introduction to quantitative and qualitative risk assessment methods. Description of terminology and the various stages of assessing design and operating practices. The role of the engineer with regard to the impact on the environment. The importance of safety - human and equipment - and the need to avoid incidents, catastrophic or otherwise. Legislation, conventions and treaties will be discussed (e.g. IMO – SOLAS, MARPOL, STCW, role of the Class Societies, Port and Flag state controls). Probability and Statistical Theory: Revision of probability and elementary set theory, Venn diagrams etc. More advanced treatment of probabilistic variables - probability density functions and the like. Common distributions, Normal (Gaussian), Log-normal, and Rayleigh. Extreme value distributions. Some statistics and the use of confidence limits. Risk Analysis I: Deductive and inductive methods. Fault Tree Analysis, Event Tree Analysis, Failure Mode, Effect and Criticality Analysis (FMECA or sometimes FMEA) or success tree for a more positive approach. Risk Analysis II: Minimum cut set, Fussel-Vesely algorithm. Application of FMECA and FTA for offshore LNG liquefaction and storage ship. Fuzzy set theory - what it offers to risk analysis. Reliability: How to assess reliability. Failure data collection, confidence limits and characteristic values - statistical methods and engineering judgement. Waiting times and interarrival times. Failure probability of series and parallel systems. Ditlevsen bounds and asymptotic approach. First and second order component reliability analysis. Poisson process and Markov chains. Structural Reliability: Basic concepts: materials, combinations of uncertainties, safety index, levels of reliability, format for design codes, uncertainty in strength models. Wind and wave, extreme value prediction and impact on overall structural reliability. Effects of corrosion and maintenance on vessel reliability. Study on vulnerability of bulk carrier structures. Safety: Design and Management: Safety culture - its importance in minimising accidents. Acceptable levels of risk - both society and individual. Perceived and actual risk. The importance of proper planning in response to perceived risk. Lessons for design: fundamental considerations, the use of risk and consequence analysis to carry out cost-benefit analysis. How to improve safety within an organisation. Human Factors: Most accidents are the result of human 'error' (70-80% in general). The psychological and physiological reasons why. Understanding these reasons better and thereby developing safer operating practices. The awareness that bad design, lack of effective training, poor working environment and sensory overload all contribute to human error. Ship and Offshore Collisions: Risk assessment and the collision as a random event, traffic density and routing policies. Classification of the risk of collision and the relative risk approach. Probabilistic approach to collisions. Mechanics of collision and the importance of energy absorbed and area of impact. Influence of ship design with relation to risk of flooding. Hazardous Cargo: The need to minimise risk through effective design and operational practices. Examination of the Braer rounding at Garth Ness, Shetland. Modelling gas dispersal. Predicting oil slicks. Coping with the effects of disasters. Environmental Impact of Maritime Activities: Most of the world's trade goes by sea. A considerable amount of oil and gas is extracted via offshore structures. Fishing and other activities exploit both the biological and geological wealth of the oceans; the influence of these activities on the environment. How improvements can be made.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • A series of 36 lectures supported by directed self-study and major coursework assignment with accompanying presentations. • Lectures based on printed handouts with illustrated case studies, video material and example sheets to be worked by students. Learning activities include • Group coursework involving problem specification, research to solve problem and final presentation. The oral presentation is peer assessed. The technical content of the presentation is lecturer-assessed.

Follow-up work6
Completion of assessment task105
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Recommended Technical Papers.. 

R.B.Clark. Marine Pollution. 

W.Wong. How did that happen? Engineering safety and reliability. 

Some useful information but check maths…. 

Nowak & Collins (2000). Reliability of Structures. 

J.P. Bentley. Introduction to Reliability and quality Engineering. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 25%
Examination 75%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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