Historically speaking, the primary driving force behind vessel layout has come in the form of rules and regulations. In such instances, change has occurred slowly, often in a reactive manner in the wake of accidents. The nature of internal layout that is favourable for operation is often in conflict with that for safety and hence objectives pertaining to each generally lie in antithesis. For this reason, the rate of safety progression has often been slowed due to industry resistance on the grounds that their ability to operate a viable business would be impaired. This, in turn, is indicative of a greater problem relating to the efficiency and variety of existing design changes for risk reduction and control. It would appear that there is an urgent need to start seeking alternative and more effective solutions, rather than continued sole reliance on conventional measures such as watertight subdivision. In order to achieve this aim, one must consider the vessel throughout its entire life-cycle (design, operation, emergency response) and understand the requirements within each stage. This would involve consideration of the constraints and conflicting requirements that each stage brings to the decision-making process in relation to the optimal configuration of the internal ship space. Only then, can one hope to provide solutions capable of achieving this aim.  The paper presents a framework to address this imbalance with specific applications on design, operation and emergency response on a large passenger ship.

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