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Summary of Conference “RS Rules for ice class ships. Changes and prospects for further development”
4 April 2019

Summary of Conference “RS Rules for ice class ships. Changes and prospects for further development”

Conference “RS Rules for ice class ships. Changes and prospects for further development” organized by Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS, the Register) took place at the RS Head Office.

Sergey Kulikov, RS Deputy Director General, in his welcome speech, highlighted that “the ice fleet is currently of key value in solving such strategic tasks for the national economy as the development of offshore projects in the Arctic and navigation along the Northern Sea Route”. He also pointed out that the Conference was organized by RS to get feedback, by means of open dialogue, from users of RS Rules regarding their experience on Rules’ application when constructing and operating ice class ships; and to identify areas where RS requirements may need to be further developed, taking into account modern market trends.

According to Georgy Bedrik, Head of the RS Planning and Marketing Division, the Register is the leader in terms of the ice class fleet: about 3,000 of over 4,400 ships under its technical supervision are ice class ships, including 47 icebreakers. More than 500 ships have been assigned Arc4 ice class or higher. Nowadays RS-classed nuclear-powered icebreakers, Arctic gas carriers, tankers and supply vessels are being built based on innovative engineering solutions. In this regard, the Register seeks not to be an inspecting organization as much as a competent assistant to the industry.

Sergey Shishkin, Head of RS Classification Division, presented a summary of amendments to RS Rules, 2019. In particular, they include splitting the notation of ice class for hull and machinery installation into two separate notations; clarification of the deepest draft of ice class ship in fresh water; and formulas for calculating parameters of ice load on the ship's hull which configuration is not in line with the standards currently set out in the Rules. The requirements for structural design of bulbous bows of Arc4, Arc5, Arc6, Arc7 ice class ships are going to be revised as well.

S. Shishkin stressed the importance of “double-acting ships”, since this concept has an enormous impact on the ice-class-fleet design principles. In the near future, the complete set of requirements for such ships is to be introduced, as a new chapter, in Part XVII of the Rules for the Classification and Construction of Sea-Going Ships. The innovations will affect the designation of ice strengthening regions, hull configuration of the fore and aft ends, determination of ice loads on the aft region, as well as the aft end structure, skeg and blocks of azimuth thrusters. Notwithstanding the above, the standard provisions for the location of ice strengthening regions are going to be kept for RS Rules users’ convenience as well as the set of formulas, traditionally applied within RS Rules.

RS continuously does the best to ensure that the RS class notation specifies ship particulars to the most extent, e.g. within the last three years, over 20 new class notations and additional distinguishing marks have been introduced in the RS Rules, including for ice class ships. The full list of class notations and distinguishing marks is provided in the Reference Book “Distinguishing Marks and Descriptive Notations in the Class Notation Assigned by Russian Maritime Register of Shipping”.

One of the promising directions for further development of the RS ice class fleet is the work related to Arctic gas carriers. Maxim Boyko, Head of LNG Marine Transportation and Storage Technology Department, spoke of such ships’ design characteristics, requirements for cargo tanks, manufacture of materials and products, as well as firms engaged in tightness testing of membrane systems in service. Besides, he informed about the experience of active cooperation with Gaztransport & Technigaz (GTT) company that has been gained by RS since 2010.

Alexander Suvorov, Head of Ships in Service Department, informed of the updates to the Rules for the Classification Surveys of Ships in Service and Guidelines on Technical Supervision of Ships in Service. Among other things, the Rules clarify the provisions on the procedures of assigning or changing ice classes of ships in service, on the application of standards for ice strengthening structural wear, including transfer of ships to RS class from classes of IACS members. Taking into account the outcome of recent researches, the requirements for frequency of bottom survey of icebreakers and vessels of the Arctic and polar classes were further developed.

It was also noted that now RS actively applies a specialized software allowing surveyors and customers to work with documentation along with applying an outside module and track the entire remark-making process online. In this context, the following useful software may be referenced: software package “VOLNA” for the use during survey of ships in service; the software package “Ships’ Projects”, in which the design documentation is reviewed; etc. Further, a new digital product is being developed, which could enable RS customers to estimate scantlings according to the RS Rules for all ship types, including those subject to the requirements of the IACS Common Structural Rules.

Established in 1913, Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) is one of the leading classification societies. Recognised by the European Union. Member of IACS. The RS activity is aimed at enhancing high standards of maritime safety and minimising the negative impact of human activities on the environment through scientifically based risk assessment and risk management procedures.

RS HEAD OFFICE: 8, Dvortsovaya Nab., 191186, St.Petersburg, RUSSIA. Tel: +7 (812) 3128878, Fax: +7 (812) 3141087, E-mail: