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World's 'leading light' on maritime safety honoured for career's work

12 December 2011

A British engineer whose name is synonymous across the world with developments in ship safety, has been recognised by the Royal Academy of Engineering for his achievements spanning more than 30 years. Dracos Vassalos, Professor of Maritime Safety at the University of Strathclyde and Director of the Ship Stability Research Centre (SSRC), has won the 2011 Sustained Achievement Award for his career-long achievements and their profound impact on his discipline.

Professor Vassalos, who lives in Pollokshields in Glasgow, has spent 32 years researching and developing ship stability and safety, through initiatives such as the SSRC, a Centre of Excellence for ship stability and safety research, which he set up in 1996 and Design for Safety, an initiative which brought together industry and academic in an unprecedented effort to help catalyse continuous safety improvement in the maritime industry.

Nominating Professor Vassalos for the award, his colleague Professor Atilla Incecik said: "SSRC is the leading light on maritime safety while Design for Safety is realising step changes in ship design and operation with ambitious targets for zero tolerance in human life loss and environmental impact. All this achieved in a very traditional, inertia-fraught industry.

"Professor Vassalos' sustained achievements over the last 32 years have completely revolutionised maritime safety, the full impact of which is still being delivered."

Ex-Chairman of the Maritime Safety Committee at the International Maritime Organiszation, Dr Tom Allan added: "Dracos' name is synonymous with the development, improvement and ground-breaking work on the survivability of ships, and in particular passenger ships. I would suggest that today, most, if not all, would refer to him and his knowledge in this field."

During his career, Professor Vassalos has overseen over 100 major research contracts to the value of more than £25m and has supervised 41 PhD students. He has also served as a Government advisor and lectured around the world on maritime safety.

Professor Vassalos received his Sustained Achievement Award from the Academy's Senior Vice President, Professor Sir William Wakeham FREng on December 1.

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