Rapid Response Damage Assessment (RRDA) Program
Decisions made within the first few hours following a maritime casualty can determine the outcome, i.e. whether
or not the vessel will remain intact and the potential environmental impact. The RRDA program provides an organized
team of engineers and naval architects during emergency situations.
Since 1993, RRDA engineers have contracted HECSALV software to model more than 2,000 vessels including floating
production, storage and offloading (FPSO) units, tankers, bulk carriers, gas carriers, semisubmersibles and spars
classed by the major classification societies. Teams have responded to more than 180 worldwide incidents ranging from
tank explosions, groundings, collisions and fires to minor structural damage, flooding, trimming to replace stern
seals, emergency drydockings and structural evaluation with missing structure in repair situations.
Role of the RRDA Team
The principal role of the RRDA team is to assist the Master and owner's technical personnel. With the ability to
quickly calculate the effect of damage to hull structure and free-flooding of internal spaces, we help the
owner/operator minimize further stressing of the hull, loss of the vessel due to inadequate stability or spilling
harmful fuel and cargo into the environment. The RRDA team can also interface with the vessel's class society and flag
or port State officials to provide technical documentation to support proposed temporary repairs, operations, single
voyage requests or other related requirements.
The ABS RRDA program complies with US and international recommendations for maritime safety including the
- United States - The RRDA program complies with the US Coast Guard requirements of OPA 90 in 33 CFR 155.240
for oil tankers and offshore oil barges. The regulation states that shipowners must have prearranged, prompt access to
computerized, shore-based damage stability and residual structural strength calculation programs.
- International - MARPOL 73/78 Annex I, Regulation 26 requires a Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan (SOPEP)
for all tankers of 150 gross tons or more and all other vessels of 400 gross tons or more. IMO MEPC 54 (32) Guidelines
for the Development of Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plans advises that detailed guidance to the ship's Master
should be provided to consider both stability and stress when taking actions to mitigate the spillage of oil or to
free the ship if aground. The guideline strongly suggests consulting with shore-based technical assistance companies
before taking any action that may jeopardize the vessel when there is excessive damage.
- According to resolution MEPC.117(52) Regulation 37.4, MARPOL 73/78 Annex I requires that all oil tankers of
5,000 tons deadweight or more have prompt access to computerized, shore-based damage stability and residual structural
strength calculation programs.
Free Enrollment for ABS-classed Vessels
Effective 1 July 2010, owners of all new ABS-classed tankers, bulk carriers, large gas carriers, containerships
and tank barges will be offered free enrollment of these vessels in the program and fee-free service for the first
year. The normal charge for developing the electronic model of the vessel that is used for conducting the damage
stability calculations will be waived. In addition, those vessels that elect to enter the program will be offered the
new ABS voluntary class notation RRDA, which will provide evidence to port State authorities and other interested
parties that the vessel meets the requirement to have access to a shore-based damage stability capability.
As with most RRDA programs, it is available to non ABS-classed ships, several hundred of which are currently in
the program. These will now have access to the broader analysis that is being made available. Non ABS-classed
newbuildings will also be accepted into the program but will be subject to fees for creating the initial electronic
model and for the first and subsequent year services.