Bureau Veritas at Her Majesty’s service as Royal Australian Navy rewrites vessel classification framework
With nearly 50 commissioned vessels and over 16,000 personnel, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is one of the largest and most sophisticated naval forces in the Pacific. However, recently it has experienced challenges due to its outdated and costly National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise.
In early 2021, the Australian Defence (Navy) initiated a review of issues and concluded that the existing DEF(AUST) 5000 Maritime Materiel Requirements Set (MRS) was unfit-for-purpose. As a result, the Australian Department of Defence asked Bureau Veritas to help rewrite the entire framework and create the new Australia’s Naval Classification Framework (ANCF).
Bureau Veritas serves the Navy
Bureau Veritas was selected after a competitive call for tender led by Commodore Colin Dagg, former RAN Director General Engineering (Navy), who retired in 2021 after more than four decades in the RAN only to be brought back in to run the ANCF project.
“Bureau Veritas really understands what we’re trying to do,” Commodore Dagg says. “They comprehend this is a classification to support navy vessels, and their understanding of how rules can drive design and construction to meet our sovereign requirements is crucial. They are helping us write a framework that is specifically for Australia, not just Bureau Veritas rules or another set of IACS rules applied to Australia."
former Director General Engineering (Navy)
With Bureau Veritas, we have meaningful dialogue around risk and vessel seaworthiness throughout a vessel’s lifecycle, including operations, However, our program is not just about safety; Bureau Veritas teams also understand the central importance of capabilities to navy vessels.
Leveraging know-how and experience, Bureau Veritas is helping the RAN create a framework understood by the industry as well as defense forces. “Many of their experts have lived and worked on ships operating in complex engineering and technical areas such as mining and offshore pipelines, so they bring vital expertise to the project,” Commodore Dagg says. “They are helping us think innovatively about the process and how to achieve our goals.”
In addition to its expertise, Bureau Veritas’ international reach is a major boon. “The beauty of working with Bureau Veritas is that they bring in experts from their entire global network to ensure we always have the right people working with us,” the Commodore explains.
The ANCF is to be implemented in three “tranches.” Tranche 1 has already begun and covers necessary preliminary activities to support a successful implementation strategy. Tranche 2, slated to start in July 2022, migrates existing RAN vessels to the new naval classification framework. Tranche 3 is scheduled to commence in January 2025 and take effect in January 2027. It ensures that all future naval vessels are designed, built and maintained under a complete naval classification framework.
In the future, the experience Bureau Veritas is gaining on the RAN project could be put to good use to support similar projects in other countries. “The template, structure, framework and methodology that we are creating with Bureau Veritas are very readily transferrable and, in my opinion, could be used by over 90% of navies around the world,” Commodore Dagg says. “The template would simply need to be adapted to include a country’s bespoke, sovereign requirements in terms of capabilities.”