Formal Safety Assessment of Marine Applications

Marine applications are the use of technologies and systems that enable humans to explore, exploit, and protect the marine environment. These applications include offshore oil and gas production, marine renewable energy, aquaculture, fisheries, marine transportation, marine tourism, and marine conservation. Marine applications pose various risks and challenges to human safety, environmental sustainability, and economic viability. Therefore, it is essential to conduct formal safety assessments (FSAs) of marine applications to identify, analyze, and mitigate potential hazards and impacts.

FSA is a structured and systematic methodology that follows five steps: identification of hazards, assessment of risks, risk control options, cost-benefit assessment, and recommendations for decision-making. FSA can be applied to any stage of a marine application’s life cycle, from design and construction to operation and decommissioning. FSA can also be used to compare different alternatives or scenarios of a marine application and to evaluate the effectiveness of existing safety measures.

FSA is a valuable tool for improving the safety performance and management of marine applications. It can help to reduce the frequency and severity of accidents, injuries, fatalities, and environmental damages. It can also help to optimize the use of resources, enhance the reliability and efficiency of systems, and increase the public acceptance and trust of marine applications. FSA can support the development and implementation of relevant regulations, standards, and best practices for marine applications.

FSA is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It requires a multidisciplinary and participatory process that involves various stakeholders, such as developers, operators, regulators, insurers, researchers, and communities. It also requires a context-specific and dynamic analysis that considers the characteristics, conditions, and uncertainties of each marine application. FSA should be updated regularly to reflect the changes in technology, environment, and society.

FSA is an emerging and evolving field that faces several challenges and limitations. Some of these are the lack of data and information on marine hazards and risks, the complexity and variability of marine systems and processes, the uncertainty and variability of human factors and behaviors, the difficulty of quantifying and monetizing intangible costs and benefits, and the trade-offs between safety, sustainability, and profitability. FSA also needs to address the ethical, social, and legal implications of marine applications.

FSA is a promising and important methodology for advancing the safe and sustainable development of marine applications. It can provide a comprehensive and transparent framework for assessing and managing the risks and impacts of marine applications. It can also facilitate the communication and collaboration among different stakeholders and sectors involved in marine applications. FSA can contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 14: Life Below Water.


– Ayyub BM (2019) Risk Analysis in Engineering: Techniques, Tools, and Trends. 2nd ed. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
– IMO (2002) Guidelines for Formal Safety Assessment (FSA) for Use in the IMO Rule-Making Process. MSC/Circ.1023-MEPC/Circ.392.
– Khan FI (2015) Risk-Based Performance Analysis of Process Systems. 2nd ed. New York: Elsevier.
– Yang MZ et al. (2016) Formal Safety Assessment Based Decision Support Framework for LNG Carrier Operations in Arctic Waters. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 4(4): 71.

Published by
View all posts