Naval Ship Code Compliance

naval ship code compliance

The Naval Ship Code, published by NATO as Allied Naval Engineering Publication (ANEP) 77, allows for an internationally accepted safety standard—benchmarked against IMO conventions and resolutions—to be applied to Naval Surface Combatant and Noncombatant vessels.

The Naval Ship Code has adopted a “goal-based” approach rather than relying on prescriptive requirements, taking into consideration the ultimate safety objective of the designer. Previously, requirements were specific and detail-oriented (such as from a build specification) and were verified by operational tests or other means. Today, the principal objectives are specified, giving the designer options and the freedom to innovate while still achieving an equivalent level of safety.


Safety is a top priority for governments with naval ships. The Naval Ship Code determines a minimum level of safety for those naval vessels. Complying with the Naval Ship Code will allow governments to:

  • Demonstrate safety to stakeholders
  • Realize cost-effective regulation
  • Build upon lessons learned internationally


The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) also establishes minimum safety standards in construction, equipment and operation; however, naval ships often cannot comply with SOLAS for several reasons:

  • Warships are designed to maximize their mission capabilities and the prescriptive requirements of SOLAS are often impractical
  • Naval ships perform unique missions such as carrying and using ammunition, transporting combat troops with arms and conducting replenishment at sea (sometimes underway)
  • Lifesaving appliances on naval ships differ from those found on commercial ships
  • System characteristics built into the design account for the unique roles of a warship


The Naval Ship Code is applicable to all non-nuclear surface ships belonging to or operated by the armed forces, coast guard, other protection and security department or agency of a State. It is important to note that the Naval Ship Code does not include measures specifically designed to address the effects of military attack.