What do the 2024 changes to Lloyd’s Lifting Code mean for shipyards interested in installing shiplift facilities? And are Bardex systems affected?

Lloyd’s Register Code for Lifting Appliances in a Marine Environment (CLAME) Code Notice 2 incorporates a risk-based approach that requires “single points” of failure in the load path be replaced with redundant support systems or mitigated through the application of risk factors.

Designing two chains per lift station has been the gold standard at Bardex from Day 1. Historically, shiplift winch systems have not been required to meet the same design and safety standards as winches used in other similar high-risk applications. We applaud the industry for increasing the risk mitigation efforts of wire rope systems.

Insight into the New Risk Assessment Requirement

A risk assessment is now required for shiplift and transfer systems and will generally set the risk as Class 2 because of the potential for damage to the vessel in addition to the lifting appliance itself. Two main types of risk mitigation are defined for Class 2 by the CLAME:


  • Redundancy: Duplication of parts, components, or systems in the main load path.
  • Risk coefficients: Designing the lifting appliance or components with the application of risk coefficients.

  • Risk Class 2 coefficients will be applied to increase the safety factor: This would require upsizing wire ropes, hoist drums, motors, etc., to achieve the same lift capacity as previous smaller hoists/wire rope systems.

  • Risk coefficients are separated into Dead Load and Safe Working Load (SWL) Risk components. Lloyd’s must agree to the selected risk factors during design certification. 
  • The Dead Load Risk Factor ranges from 1.2 to 2.0.
  • The SWL Risk Factor ranges from 1.5 to 2.0.
  • The CLAME code minimum safety factor of 3 to 1 on lift station capacity is multiplied by 1.5 to 2 (the SWL) to mitigate the single point of failure – i.e., the wire rope – in the load path. The safety factor for design increases to 3 x 1.5 = 4.5 to 1 on SWL minimum subject to agreement with Lloyd’s. An SWL of 2.0 means a safety factor of up to 6 may be required.

Understanding the Design Changes and Their Effects on Project Costs

There are four primary changes to the design of wire rope winch systems in the updated code. None of these affect the Bardex chain jack shiplift design. The changes required of winches for safety are: 

  • “The lifting appliance winches (where fitted) are to be equipped with mechanically and operationally independent secondary braking systems. The control system for these secondary brakes shall be independent of the primary brake. Both primary and secondary brakes are to be automatically applied in case of an emergency stop being activated or in the event of a failure in the braking system.”

  • “The secondary brake system shall operate directly on the winch drum or drum shaft.” 

  • “The minimum number of wraps of steel wire rope to remain on the rope drum at all times during normal operation shall be increased to five.”

  • “The maximum fleet angle in relation to the sheave shall be in accordance with a recognized National or International Standard (e.g., ISO 16625 Cranes and hoists, EN 13001-3-2 Cranes. General design – Limit stats and proof of competence of wire ropes in reeving systems, EN 13135 Cranes – Safety Design – Requirements for equipment). The manufacturer is required to demonstrate that the chosen fleet angles are suitable for the design of a safe reeving system in all operational configurations (e.g., lowest and highest platform elevation).”

    Feeling adventurous? Access the full CLAME here. We’re happy to answer any questions have as you read.

Depending on how the winch system industry addresses these new requirements, additional parts, increased control-system complexity, larger drums and rope diameters, and the length of the rope needed to meet the new standard would each contribute to higher capital costs and maintenance costs of new wire systems.

What are the consequences of larger drums?

Larger drums and sheaves to accommodate larger ropes, coupled with tighter fleet angles, may lead to significant design changes, adding complexity and leading to a system that is less reliable and more expensive. Another consequence would be a larger footprint for each winch. Footprints requiring more space on the pier and leaving less available space between lift stations limit the access area for support equipment (cranes, forklifts, inhaul equipment, etc.) and may increase the cost of the civil works by creating the need for larger piers.

Operational Costs – Futureproofing Your Budget

Gains in the safety of wire rope systems come with increased costs in uptime, maintenance, and training. 

  • Thicker and longer ropes require more grease for maintenance and are more expensive to replace. 
  • More complicated redundant brake control systems will be harder to maintain, require more operator training, and cause more nuisance alarms and stops. 
  • The secondary brake system will require more maintenance and more spare parts. 
  • More sophisticated control systems will require a higher level of education for operators. 

Even before these changes, lower operational costs have always been an advantage of a chain system.

Do the Changes Affect Articulated and Rigid Platform Designs Equally?

The code focuses on the root cause of failures, i.e., the lift element itself, rather than the supporting structure. The choice of an articulated or rigid platform will not stop a wire rope from breaking – it will only decide what happens after the rope snaps. Because the code changes are intended to improve the safety of the winch system, both types of platforms should see a benefit.

Will Existing Systems Be Impacted by the Changes? What About Systems Under Contract?

Advice from Lloyd’s confirms the changes are not planned to be applied to systems already in service and currently certified. There has not been a definitive position by Lloyd’s for systems under contract. The CLAME Notice 2 from Lloyd’s defines the enforcement date for these changes as 1 January 2025. It will likely depend on where the “new system” is in the design process and the review of that design by Lloyd’s. It would be prudent due diligence to seek the advice of Lloyd’s.

When Will the Changes Take Effect on New Systems?

The CLAME Notice 2 from Lloyd’s defines the enforcement date for these changes as 1 January 2025.  This would suggest any system submitted to Lloyd’s for certification after 1 January 2025 would fall under the new rules.  It would be prudent due diligence to seek the advice of Lloyd’s.

Wait, Shiplifts Are Covered in Chapter 5. Do Changes to Chapter 4: Cranes & Submersible Lifting Appliances Apply?

Chapter 5 references Chapter 4 in multiple places. Stakeholders should be familiar with the applicable sections.

Transparency Is a Bardex Core Tenet

A chain jack is not a winch system – so what is in store for future chain jack systems? Impacts on our OmniLift™: shiplift by Bardex and OmniDock™ floating system designs are very minimal. There is no significant increase in capital or operating costs for Bardex systems in relation to the updated CLAME.

What sets Bardex safety innovations apart?

Take the next step by reaching out. Our knowledgeable team can help you navigate the latest industry improvements here.