The present article introduces a holistic approach to ship design, as it is being developed in the Horizon 2020 EU project HOLISHIP ( The project deals with the development of design and virtual prototyping simulation platforms, which integrate software tools for all major ship design disciplines and optimization objectives, namely, building and operational cost, energy efficiency, safety, environmental footprint, and life cycle cost/impact assessment. It enables the seamless mathematical multi-objective optimization of ship design with governing design constraints and the exploration of the huge design space by parametric modeling of the ship design system and its components. The article outlines the integration of the essential software tools into the software platform and demonstrates the functionality and benefits of the HOLISHIP approach by brief presentations of typical case studies.


The pattern of seaborne trade and goods transportation is changing, and so do the vessels of transportation. They need to adapt to changes in customer and market requirements, changes in cargo types and volumes, and new legislation for the safety of ships and the protection of the marine/aerial environment. Increased requirements for energy efficiency and the control of GHG emissions and the inherent uncertainties regarding fuel cost and future types of marine fuels pose extra challenges. This calls for significant advances in the approach to ship design and operation to meet continuously changing requirements over ship’s life cycle by holistic, efficient, and easy-to-use design procedures and software systems.

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