An Integrated Approach to Increase Marine Transportation Safety in Harbor Areas
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The importance of marine transportation safety in harbors and waterways access has become a very serious governmental concern in recent years, with the holding of special conferences on major marine disasters, increasing concerns on environmental issues, frequent occurrence of waterway congestion, and the presence of ever larger vessels with increased potential impacts from accidents. An additional serious concern is the blockage of key waterways due to the national economic and social impact from terrorism attacks. These concerns have compelled naval architects and marine engineers to seek effective solutions to solving the issues of marine transportation safety through improved instrumentations and applying more advanced modeling technologies. However, all of these efforts focus primarily on the engineering and technology aspects, such as ship maneuverability, controllability, channel design, navigation aids, etc. There is a lack of systematic improvements in marine transportation safety. In order to achieve this goal of a systematic improvement of marine transportation safety, investigation efforts need to be increased in all seriousness. Meanwhile, the approach should move from a pure engineering and deterministic approach toward a probabilistic and integrated policy approach with the adoption of risk analysis and decision sciences applied in various fields. Therefore, the issues of ship transportation and harbor safety are discussed in this paper from a policy perspective. This integrated approach considered not only various technology factors but also the empirical judgment, social factors, and economic factors (nontechnology factors). A decision-making process diagram based on all factors inside the integrated approach is proposed as a framework first. In this diagram, "improving the ship maneuverability standards or not" is listed in the center as the key role in the decision-making process. Both technology and nontechnology factors are presented and discussed according to their positions in the decision making process, and uncertain issues are identified because they are the most sensitive issues in the process. Particularly, four most important uncertain issues are explained with a justification of the discussion based on numerous government reports and academic papers. These uncertain issues include ship maneuverability prediction, escort tug assistance, channel reconstruction, and emergency response. Understanding of these sensitive uncertainties provides the diverse factors that show their relative importance with respect to the standards of ship maneuverability and the resultant impacts on marine transportation safety. This integrated approach is expected to be used to assist policy makers to find the best starting point for their special purpose.