Personal responsibility in Ship/Boatbuilding

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Guillermo, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Thanks a lot Ad Hoc.
    I wanted to give you rep points, but system doesn't allow :(

    Somebody else's inputs?

    Cheers.
     
  2. Tcubed
    Joined: Sep 2008
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    Tcubed Boat Designer

    In our present materialistic and litigious society it has become an amazing feature that a mother may seek to blame someone in order to get money for the death of her baby , for instance.

    When observed with perspective this attitude seems abhorrent at best.

    My father worked for two years in a shipyard in Kaohsiung as a technical adviser and quality control. There were intense conflicts of interests due to him being paid directly by the client to assure the boats would be made well and the factory trying to cut costs as much as possible. For example, screws were hammered in, not just hammered in, rather the yard considered it to be wasteful of time to use any more than three hammer strokes to hammer them in! One to get it started, one to get almost all the way and one to finish it off! Let's say that his gray hair grew then. I have many more stories but not for right now.

    Myself i believe that stand up straight men assume responsibility for their actions.

    I will never buckle under the oppression created by insurance companies and the fear of litigiousness.

    A simple affidavit declares that i used all my available resources to create a full proof design but if it breaks i am not responsible. I have a clear conscience because my experience dictates me to specify generous scantlings, and i know that nothing is set in stone on the high seas.

    If this means i will never design large ships so be it, i am a free (and responsible for my own destiny) man.
     
  3. Ad Hoc
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    Guillermo

    No idea what rep points are.
    Doesn't bother me one way or another about "points" I'm not here to keep score, just offer advice when i can. The fact you understood and got some "value" out of our discussion is enough "rep points" for me. That is more important than "points of some description"...i'll leave that for those that feel insecure and that they need a pat on the back!
    But thanks for the thought anyway :)
     
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  4. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Some of my answers have to be twofold, because I live mainly in Germany (if not on board), but my yards are mainly in Turkey.

    In Germany you can get personal punishment only, if you act negligent (breach of security), or deliberate.
    That does not exclude the NA´s responsibility, but the yard is held responsible first, due to the fact, that the yard has the obligation to check a design for insecure issues.

    In Turkey only the yard owner (legal representative or usually the manager on duty) is responsible for each and every thing. It is not possible to pass through responsibility to the NA.

    In Germany none (surprisingly), if you´re able to establish a business you can open a shipyard.
    In Turkey the manager on duty must provide some proven knowledge (I am not shure to which extend in real life!).

    Both countries NO

    In Germany yes. But in practice often substituted by the presence of a classification society. But that is another issue and fills books.

    In Turkey no.

    Yes and you mentioned it:
    Construction Manager is mandatory and he/she has to sign a "Certificate of Construction Management" stating the vessel has been built "in accordance with the design, its approved modifications and the legal applicable rules and regulations, as well as the good practice of shipbuilding". Such Construction Manager has to be (by law) a Naval Architect, who may be an employee of the builder or an external hired one (like it is my case).

    But that can be a certified shipbuilder instead of a NA in Germany.

    I do´nt know about Turkey.

    Handling of CE CoC is EU conform in Turkey.


    My personal experience in the commercial sector (although Brent swain calls my boats Battleships, they are just yachts) is, that at the end, the class is what counts, and many, many cases ended with a statement like: despite the fact of flaw xyz was built to class compliance, so we have to rethink the rules.

    Regards
    Richard
     
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  5. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    Guillermo

    Similarly to the UK, in Australia no individual can be criminally negligent unless they knowingly approved deficient design or construction.
    Ship building is such a big enterprise that no one superviser can ever guarantee every part of the ship, they must rely on a team. I am surprised this somewhat draconian situation exists in your country perhaps it is time your professional association lobbied for some changes.

    In reality around most of the world the classification societies tend to bear the brunt of responsibility for the final product. If the vessel then fails in service or injury is casued through poor design or construction then they are held culpable.

    Many vessels here are built to our own USL rules and the state maritime authorities effectively act as a classification society, each state is a little different in its requirements but there is no individual that is seperated out either by legislation or by the courts as being singulalry and criminally responsible unless they were involved in active deceit.

    Cheers
     
  6. Guillermo
    Joined: Mar 2005
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Thanks Mike, Richard and T^3

    Mike,
    Precisely our association has been consulted by the authorities about a revision of the law related with this matters, and me and a group of colleagues are pressing our board to lobby to reject the obligation for a single NA to be separated out by law as the first responsible for something we understand is shared with builder, class societies' and flag state's supervisors, etc. That's why I'm interested in knowing what is done in other countries.

    When you say: "Many vessels here are built to our own USL rules and the state maritime authorities effectively act as a classification society" does that mean responsibility falls on the side of your authorities' supervisors once the vessel approved? Who's the one to be called in first place by the judge if something happens?


    Richard,
    it seems in Germany the situation is somewhat similar to what we have in Spain, but there are two important differences, if I understood well:

    - The NA's responsibility in Germany may be substituted by the presence of a classification society. In Spain the NA takes on his/her shoulders all responsibility in first place at court. In its case he/she is the one who has to prove before the judge the responsibility is not on him/her but shared or on a third party, including the classification society (if there has been one). Most worrying.

    - A certified shipbuilder may sign the certificate of construction management instead of a NA in Germany (Please I would like to know what a certified builder is).

    Another question for you, Richard: When a classification society is involved in supervising the building, who signs the Construction Management Certificate?

    Does anybody know what's done in France, Italy, Holland, Greece, Norway, the US and other countries, or can adress me to someone in that countries to whom I can ask? This is most important for us and I will be most grateful for all help provided.

    Thanks in advance.
    Cheers.
     
  7. TeddyDiver
    Joined: Dec 2007
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    In Finland considering boats up to 6m are only certified by manufacturer. No questions asked about competence etc.. I know one occasion where a manufacturer had been fined and forbidden to sell any boat due not meeting the standards..
    Over 6m a certified classificator got to approve all plans, construction site and the the actual boat etc..
    Responsibility afterwards is gray area.. as far as I know there's no court decisions but I might be wrong (my law books are from previous millenium)
     
  8. Poida
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Poida Senior Member

    Guillermo, are you looking for a country to move to where you can't get prosecuted? Joking OK.

    Perth Western Australia, at a boat course I went to a few years back we were advised that no license permit etc is required to build boats and sell them.

    Any deaths caused here are investigated and if caused by negligence by any party they can be charged with criminal negligence causing death. Getting clients to sign indemnity forms to avoid prosecution is a waste of time.

    Very much the same in factories, the authorities do not inspect factories for safety, they wait until somebody dies or seriously injured and they go head hunting.

    Of course with larger boats, we have a very good boat building reputation and I believe that 75% of boats built here are for export. Not bad when you look at our isolation.

    Of course if a boat goes down with a loss of life, gathering evidence to conclude what caused the sinking would be difficult, and who would spend the money?
     
  9. peter radclyffe
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    peter radclyffe Senior Member

    radclyffe wooden boatbuilder

    For sure there was , you could say that by not speaking out that all classification societies are as guilty AS THE BUILDERS & DESIGNERS OF ESTONIA, BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS, no conscience, just profit, count the ro-ro's sunk, some are then raised & sent far away from the scene of the crime, back in service waiting for the next accident
     
  10. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    We must divide here, I think, between the written law and constant jurisprudence! In theory and by law, a NA or production manager could held responsible for flaw. Jurisprudence on the other hand assumes a wider knowledge and therefore a tighter responsibility of a Classification Society involved.
    In fact all engineers, designers and managers involved, say that they are "allways already with one foot in jail", but I have´nt seen one going with the other too.
    As mentioned above, things are different in Turkey, but I assume you are focussed on the civilized world here.
    Regards
    Richard

    Thanks for that Pete.

    POIDA

    Thanks, but we´re talking commercial shipbuilding here only!
     
  11. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Thanks everybody.

    Teddy,
    If I understand well, in Finland is mandatory the intervention of a CS for the building of all commercial boats/ships bigger than 6 m length. Is that so? Do you know if the production manager has to issue a certificate of compliance, similarly as it happens in Germany?

    Poida,
    I'm not looking for such country, because it doesn't exist :). One can always be prosecuted when things go wrong, the world around. In some countries one can even be directly shot to death. :p
    This is not a matter of not asuming personal responsibilities, because one has to be responsible for his own acts, but of not asuming alone and in first place all responsibility when there are other parties involved in the building process and decissions are shared or made by third parties, not depending everything on the decission of the production manager. In my opinion the builder is the one who makes the main business, so the one to be called in first place by the judge. After him the SC, NA in charge of construction, etc, to determine who's responsible for an eventual building flaw.

    Richard,
    I understand in Germany there is always a SC involved, even for small boats, and jurisprudence states the SC are the main responsible ones for a building flaw. That protects the signing production manager a lot, in my opinion. Not in Spain. Here most boats and small ships are built without the supervision of a SC, only the supervision of an NA is required. And this some times rises big problems for such NA with some 'bizarre' boatyard owners, who tend to do whatever they want and see the NA as an obstacle.
    Thanks for all of your very nice help.

    Cheers.
     
  12. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Welcome.

    Shall I look for a reasonable priced house here?.............;)
    Regards
    Richard
     
  13. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    This is only for recreational boats..
    I have to admit I'm not 100% sure but I've understood that CS issue the certificate of compliance. Production (manager or other) got to follow and record that the production process etc stays atleast the same level as was mandatory during the production of the original (and CS supervised) boat. That is in serial production. One-off boats are just produced directly under CS supervision as a first in the series.
    (Boat production got meet whats specified in the boat directive appendices VI, VII and VIII and one of the following IX, X, XII or XVI.. )
     
  14. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Richard,
    You are welcome down here... :)
    How much in percentage do you pay for the design and then the supervising of works over there?

    Teddy
    CE marking of a recreational boat is the same all Europe around, no problem with that. My concerns are related to the building of commercial boats (this is: fishing vessels, dredges, barges, tugs, patrol boats, cargo ships, etc). Do you know someone in Finland to whom I may ask? I'll greatly appreciate your help.

    Cheers.
     

  15. TeddyDiver
    Joined: Dec 2007
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    Fishing vessels requlations are just a copy/paste from recreational boat reqs..
    I'll inquire if I find someone/something on commercial vessels..
     
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