AUGUST 22, 2015 — The Worldwide Ferry Safety Association (WFSA) has launched its latest competition for a Safe Affordable Ferry. Entries are being sought from naval architectural students from all over the world.
"The goal of the design competition, now in its third year, is to elicit new approaches for ferry design for and with the developing world, where there are still many accidents," says WFSA's Executive Director, Dr. Roberta Weisbrod. "We also hope to encourage designers to enter this arena, where we see both an urgent need and real business opportunities in an emerging market."
Focus on Indonesia, a nation of islands: The 2015 Design Competition for a Safe Affordable Ferry will be focused on an Indonesian inter‐island RoPax vessel.
Indonesia is the fourth largest nation in the world in terms of population. Composed of 6,000 inhabited islands, the archipelago spreads across over 3,000 miles from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean near Australia. Seeking to build on its geography and its seafaring traditions, Indonesia's new leaders, who came into office in late 2014, have stressed the importance of policies that will enhance its maritime strength. One stated goal of these policies is to improve inter‐island connectivity through ferry transport.
Historically, however, ferry transport between Indonesia's islands has lacked an adequate level of safety. Between 2000 and 2015, 37accidents have occurred in Indonesia, leaving 2,286 people dead or missing, according to data gathered by the WFSA and Interferry (an association with consultative status at the IMO, representing the ferry industry world‐wide).
Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee has performed in‐depth casualty investigations of these incidents and has identified major factors. The analysis of casualties between 2003 and 2013, performed as part of a World Maritime University (WMU) Master's thesis, has identified significant patterns, which highlighted the issue of fires on RoPax vessels. This issue is globally important given recent incidents.
How to Register: Registration for the competition should be made at
Student teams who register before the September 15 deadline will be provided with the Terms of Reference. Collaboration among academic institutions is encouraged. Entries will be due on March 1, 2016.
Previous competitions: For the past two years, awards have been made to student teams of $10,000 annually, with the top prize each year being $5,000. An impressive roster of internationally recognized maritime professionals have served as judges. Awardees have been recognized at international maritime conferences and through widespread media reports.
The competitions for 2013 and 2014, respectively, were to design a passenger ferry for the Bangladesh river system (won by a team from University of British Columbia) and for an inter‐island RoPax for Papua New Guinea (won by a group from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada).