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The IMO’s Goal-Based Standards (GBS) in the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) sets the high-level goals (GBS Tier 1 and 2) and classification societies acting as recognized organizations (ROs) should develop detailed rules and regulations in order to meet the goals (GBS Tier 4). Even though the GBS requirements are applicable to new build construction standards of bulk carriers and oil tankers at present, given that IMO may develop goal-based standards for other safety areas, it will be meaningful to examine the bilge pumping system requirements in the context of principles of Goal-Based Standards. The bilge pumping system is one of the most important systems in ships but there is no requirement for its performance except for the 2 m/s speed of water requirement and the internal diameter of bilge main prescribed in SOLAS. The purpose of this study is to quantitatively evaluate bilge pumping performance of actual ships in service and to propose an alternative set of performance standards. The rules of Classification Societies were investigated, and the bilge pumping performance was quantitatively evaluated using specifications of a 14,000 TEU class container ship. As a result of the investigation, it was found that satisfying the 2 m/s requirement under many operating conditions was impossible, and the rules and regulations to determine the internal diameter of bilge main and the capacity of bilge pump did not meet intended purpose of the 2 m/s speed of water requirement. Finally, a set of design criteria are proposed to fulfil the intended purpose of the 2 m/s requirement of SOLAS.