2012. The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers
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This article approaches the complexity aspects of conceptual ship design from a systems engineering point of view. We introduce the issue by defining the term complexity in systems engineering, placing the conceptual ship design task as a complex system problem and creating analogies between generic complex systems and a ship. Five main aspects of complexity are presented, linking challenges of the conceptual phase to each of the aspects. The structural aspect is related to the arrangement and interrelationship of the physical objects in the ship. The behavioral aspect derives from the form-function mapping. The external circumstances to which the ship is subjected are approached through the contextual aspect. Uncertainties in the scenarios and changes over time are related to the temporal aspect. The perceptual aspect relates to how stakeholders perceive the value that they receive from a chosen design. A theoretical study to address these five aspects is presented, applying the responsive systems comparison method in the conceptual design of an anchor handling a tug supply vessel. The last section discusses why decomposing the complexities of the ship design task in five aspects is a benefit.