The news stories are depressingly familiar. A ferry, often in a developing nation, sinks along the coast or in a river and the lives of hundred are lost. In regions where ferries are the most necessary, they are often the most dangerous. Safe and affordable ferries are desperately needed. The World Ferry Safety Association is sponsoring a competition to design such a ferry. Student teams from six maritime universities are competing in the Safe Affordable Ferry Design Competition to develop a ferry design for a 500 passenger ferry for Bangladesh.
The student teams competing are from (in alphabetic order), Istanbul Technical University, Maine Maritime Academy, National Technical University of Athens, Tolani Maritime Institute, India, University of Applied Sciences in Bremen, University of British Columbia, and Webb Institute in New York. A panel of six judges (see below) will review the submissions and will announce the winners by early Fall 2013. The top prize is $5,000 with second and third prizes also to be awarded.
Dr. Roberta Weisbrod, a Board member of WFSA, explained: “The purpose of the design competition is to supplement efforts by affected national governments, Interferry and the International Maritime Organization to reduce ferry fatalities in developing world ferry travel.” She added that: “This competition addresses the most intractable cause of ferry fatalities, the quality of the vessel with the goal of eliciting innovative design at the same time promoting the fact that as developing countries become emerging markets their need and ability to pay for innovative affordable safe design increases.”
The Worldwide Ferry Safety Association (WFSA) is a not-for-profit organization whose board is composed of Stuart Ballantyne, Managing Director of Sea Transport Corporation in Southport, Australia, which owns, operates and constructs commercial vessels; Len Roueche, CEO of Interferry and leader of the organization’s Ferry Safety project; and Dr. Roberta Weisbrod, Principal of Sustainable Ports, a maritime transport consultancy, and coordinator for Interferry’s Ferry Safety project.