Safe design: decarbonising shipping

Inherently Safer Design of Decarbonising Shipping in the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean

Degree type


Closing date

6 March 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Shipping industry accounts for 2.6% of the global carbon dioxide emissions, is prompted to find clean energy solutions for decarbonising the industry and achieve the International Maritime Organization (IMO)'s greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets by 2050. The decarbonisation process for marine vessels will require changes to the onboard energy storage and usage as well as the necessary accompanying bunkering infrastructure. This requirement must consider several designs and operational aspects of a vessel. One of the critical aspects is the risk associated with operating with new fuels such as hydrogen. Operations in extreme environments will increase the likelihood of accidents resulting in higher risk exposure. A robust and reliable design is required for future vessels (i.e. ice-breakers) operating in harsh environmental conditions such as in the Antarctic and Arctic regions.

The safety performance of any engineering system originates from decisions taken in different stages of the project lifecycle. Inherently Safer Design (ISD) is one of the most effective risk reduction strategies that can be used to achieve safer and more sustainable vessel operation. Among the possible risk management strategies, the implementation of the inherent safety approach in conceptual design and front-end engineering and design (FEED) stages can significantly reduce the design and safety management costs. Because the degrees of freedom available for system modification is higher at these stages, minimising the requirements for engineered safety devices and related procedures. The inherent safety approach is pointed out as a cost-effective strategy to address the underlying hazards in the early stages of a project.

This project aims to develop a novel framework for designing vessels that can safely operate on decarbonised fuels in the extreme conditions of the Antarctic and Southern Oceans. This research project will address the following objectives:

  • To identify and evaluate the engineering solutions for zero-emission shipping operation based on inherent safety principles,
  • To develop a novel methodology to assess the applicability of inherent safety principles to current and future vessels,
  • To perform a comprehensive risk assessment of the decarbonised vessel operations envisaging worst-case scenarios, and
  • To develop a risk mitigation strategy for the operational capabilities of decarbonised vessels after implementing ISD principles

It is anticipated that the proposed framework can assist developers and regulators in providing guidelines and standards for the design and operation of decarbonised vessels.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Til Baalisampang


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,854 per annum (2022 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • The degree must be undertaken on a full-time basis
  • Applicants must have a First-Class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector
  • Applicants must be proficient with CFD software
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Priority will be given to those who got the first-class honours for his/her bachelor's degree and master by coursework course with research components and/or publications.
  • Applicants must have in-depth knowledge of offshore structures, hydrodynamics and safety engineering.

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Til Baalisampang to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

Apply now Explore other projects

Why the University of Tasmania?

Worldwide reputation for research excellence

Quality supervision and support

Tasmania offers a unique study lifestyle experience