This paper discusses the required grades of hull steel plates based on the steel ship rule of Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (NK). The minimum value of the allowable crack length in NK rule (critical safety crack length at 0degC just before brittle unstable crack causing fatal fracture) was estimated. In the case where the estimated crack tip exists in a matrix, the crack length was a minimum of 200-210mm, while nearly 60mm in a fusion line at high-heat-input welded joint. The allowable crack lengths estimated from a specified value in the NK rule were fairly different. The allowable crack length at 0degC was also estimated from the minimum value in V-notch Charpy impact test. The private proposal on the required grades of hull steel plates in consideration of fracture toughness was discussed. Thirty-five percent of crack lengths found in real ships is 100mm or less, however, cracks of 250-400mm long are frequently found suggesting the allowable crack length of 400mm. The required grade integrally considering required values and design conditions is demanded to secure the reliability of hull strength. 5 refs., 5 figs., 2 tabs.