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Ship collision is the structural impact between two ships or one ship and a floating or still object such as an iceberg[1]. Ship collisions are of particular importance in marine accidents. Some reasons for the latter are:

  • The loss of human life.
  • The environmental impact of oil spills, especially where large tanker ships are involved.
  • Financial consequences to local communities close to the accident.
  • The financial consequences to shipowners, due to ship loss or penalties.
  • Damage to coastal or off-shore infrastructure, for example collision with bridges.

As sea lanes are getting more congested and ship speeds higher, there is a good possibility that a ship may experience an important accident during her lifetime. Higher speeds may cause larger operational loads, like slamming, or excessively severe loads, for example during a collision. Denser sea routes increase the probability of an accident – in particular a collision – involving ships or ships and shore or offshore structures.

Due to extremely large masses and relatively high velocities the energy involved in such an accident is astonishing: the collision energy of a 10,000 tonne RoRo passenger at a speed of 30kn, is equivalent to 10,000 cars of approximately 1 tonne each, impacting a small area with a speed of approximately 55km/h (slightly higher than the speed used in Euro NCAP side impact tests for cars).[2]



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