MICHAEL HARRISONStructural Engineer (FFOD)
AIS & VDR Analyst
  • Imperial College of Science & Technology, BSc Mechanical Engineering 1982
  • Member of PIANC, Chairman of PIANC Working Group 145 (Ship Berthing Speeds)
  • Member of the Nautical Institute


Michael is a mechanical and structural engineer with 30 years’ experience in the analysis, design and construction of berthing structures, in particular fenders and moorings. This encompasses the critical interactions of vessels and structures, safe working loads and limits, operating procedures and practices. Michael has investigated many allision incidents involving fixed and floating object damage, fender failures, moored vessel motions, structural dilapidation, equipment defects (including latent and design defects), related operational and maintenance issues.

His background also includes the development of precision navigation systems and Michael applies this knowledge to the extraction of critical static and dynamic information from AIS and VDR records for collision and allision incidents. Michael is experienced in the accurate reconstruction, replay and visualisation of ship manoeuvres. Over the last decade he has attended many vessels of all classes and size during channel approaches and berthings as a specialist advisor and trainer to pilots in the use of portable navigation and docking aids.

Michael has provided written and oral expert evidence for a number of high profile cases involving bridge, jetty, dolphin and other structural damage as well as fender and mooring failures and related losses. This work has combined forensic investigations with ship manoeuvring information to determine event sequences and causation assessments. He has advised clients on post-incident responses to minimise operational disruptions; to retain control of costs; to enhance procedures and to mitigate the risk of future repetitions.

During his career Michael has been active in the construction of many berths and terminals around the world. He is conversant with most types of structures, engineering materials including physical properties and degradation in marine environments, testing and investigation techniques, maintenance regimes, hazard identification and risk assessments. Michael advises on berth upgrades and extending the service life of marine structures; quantum; alternatives for obsolete equipment; betterment issues.

Michael chairs PIANC Working Group 145, an international committee tasked to investigate the berthing speeds and angles of large ships; identifying factors which govern berthing speeds; implications of findings for new and existing structures; measuring and monitoring of berthing vessels and associated mitigation of risks. The WG145 report is due for publication in 2016.


Solis Marine Consultants
Temple Chambers
3-7 Temple Avenue
London EC4Y 0DA, UK
T: +44 (0) 20 3794 3076
M (UK): +44 (0)7798 989697
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