The assessment of the ultimate strength of a ship structure is very important not only for the initial design but also for the operation, maintenance, and repair of the structure. There exist two typical methods to assess the ultimate strength of stiffened panel and hull girder. One is the approximate calculation method and the other is the progressive collapse analysis. The approximate calculation method is based on ship beam-theory mainly, and the ultimate moment was calculated by assuming stress distribution of the whole section of the ship girders, which can not effectively consider the structural post-buckling behaviour. Based on progressive collapse mechanism and hull’s beam theory, A approximate calculation approach was proposed. By calculating the ultimate strength of stiffened panels in the distal end hull section, the deflections were obtained when the different stiffened panel reaching in the limit state, and then the stress state and bending moment of section were determined with different deflections, the hull’s ultimate moment value is determined by searching and comparing finally. The numerical examples show that the presented method was reasonable and effective compared with traditional direct calculation method and progressive collapse analysis. The method given hereof followed the progressive collapse mechanism through inversion searching in some degree, and the structural post-buckling behaviour was effectively considering.

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