Naval v Commercial Shipbuilding Rules


In discussions on the SDSR naval strategy, a vigorous debate took place about the relative merits of naval and commercial shipbuilding techniques.

HMS Ocean is the poster child of those that say commercial shipbuilding rules are wholly unsuitable for naval vessels but I think the problems with Ocean were more to do with poor design and construction, rather than any inherent fault with commercial shipbuilding standards.

We tend to think that commercial standards create weak ships, lacking in durability but this is simply not the case. Offshore platform supply vessels operate in some of the worst weather anywhere in the world, commercial ships are driven by commercial reality, generally spend a much greater proportion of their lives actually at sea and safety standards for large crude carriers or cruise ships are such that a knock or two is not going to sink them, flimsy they are not.

But there is much more to naval shipbuilding than sturdiness and the paper below should provide some background reading.