Global warming and extreme weather events reported in the last years have attracted a lot of attention in academia, industry and media. The ongoing debate around the observed climate change has focused on three important questions: will occurrence of extreme weather events increase in the future, which geographical locations will be most affected, and to what degree will climate change have impact on future ship traffic and design of ships and offshore structures? The present study shortly reviews the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report, AR4, [1] and other relevant publications regarding projections of meteorological and oceanographic conditions in the 21st century and beyond with design needs in focus. Emphasis is on wave climate and its potential implications on safe design and operations of ship structures. A risk based approach for marine structure design accounting for climate change is proposed. The impact of expected wave climate change on ship design is demonstrated for five oil tankers, ranging from Product tanker to VLCC. Consequences of climate change for the hull girder failure probability and hence the steel weight of the deck in the midship region is shown. Recommendations for future research activities allowing adaptation to climate change are given.

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