Interdisciplinary blog

Human Element and the Costa Concordia

August 4, 2015
by Andrew Clarke

Part of the EPSRC Vacation Bursaries Scheme 2015

Student Name: Andrew Clarke

Student Degree Course: Ship Science

Year of Study: 2nd Year

Supervisor: Dr Dominic Taunton

Project Title: Human Element and the Costa Concordia

In this last year as a part 2 Ship Science student I studied a number of design modules, one of which looked at the functional design of a simple cargo vessel. In this module I used the knowledge obtained from my degree up to this point to create a working design of a vessel. This highlighted how hard it is to design a living and working space for crew and passengers on the ship. While there is some basic regulation already for the size and condition of the space onboard vessels for crew there seemed a small amount when compared to other industries. This is where the research of the human element in design gives more detail about how to design a vessel for the crew to work more effectively with the ship.

In my summer project I am looking at the regulation and guidelines for the human element and constructing a framework for use by the shipping industry to incorporate the human element better. Human Element is, according to the International Maritime Organisation ‘A complex multi-dimensional issue that affects maritime safety, security and marine environmental protection. It Involves the entire spectrum of human activities performed by ships’ crews, shore-based management, regulatory bodies, recognised organization, shipyard, legislators and other relevant parties, all of whom need to co-operate to address human element issues effectively.’ This framework is intended to be used by a variety of people from ship designers to accident investigators. Thus the use of the Costa Concordia accident as a case study for the framework will be used. I am working with Lloyds Register and other specialists in the area of the human element to help construct this framework. I am part of a group of student researchers all working together on the project.

This project has shown me the complexity of integrating the human element into modern ship design. The third year of my Ship Science course has a module which looks at the concept design of a vessel, where I hope to integrate some of what I will learn this summer. But looking at the course as a whole there is very little coverage of the human element, which is a shame as it is an increasingly important aspect of modern ship design and operation. However I would be interested in continuing in this area as a research project next summer looking into more detail in the area of human element.

Categories: Blog. Tags: andrew clarke, Blog, costa concordia, dominic taunton, epsrc, human element, interdisciplinary, interdisciplinary research, Ship Science, University of Southampton, vacation bursaries, and vacation bursary.

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