DRAFTING OF a new British Standard for ship-to-shore structures will soon begin, after a long-fought battle by the Institution of Civil Engineers and industry secured government funding.
Calls for the new standard came after the collapse of an elevated walkway in the port of Ramsgate in September 1994, killing six people as they boarded a ferry.
At present specialist structures including walkways, linkspans or roll-on roll-off bridges have no specific code. Each is designed using a mix of onshore and maritime standards with industry guidelines such as Lloyds' Rules.
But the Ramsgate accident highlighted the lack of a strict code. Unchecked design flaws were identified as the cause and Swedish firms FKAB and FEAB were heavily fined as were Lloyds' and Port Ramsgate in 1996.
Industry calls for a new Part 8 to the British Standard BS 6349 for Maritime Structures after the accident were backed by a CIRIA report in April 1999. But until a recent apparent about-turn by previous minister Lord Whitty, all negotiations with ministers had failed to secure funding.
The Department of Trade & Industry will now provide £50,000 for the work, along with £5,000 from ICE coffers, and £71,000 of work done pro bono by industry.