Leading Societies Launch Sweeping Safety Initiatives

Thursday, March 15, 2001
American Bureau of Shipping, Det Norske Veritas and Lloyd's Register have developed a series of initiatives to further improve the safety of international shipping. The three leading classification societies have agreed on ten actions that will strengthen the classification profession and make poor quality vessels easier to identify and act upon.

The past 12 months have highlighted an apparent weakness in the ability of Classification Societies to respond to critical issues facing the shipping industry. While continuing to support IACS, the three societies will refocus much of their considerable resources on the important quality issues facing the profession and the wider shipping community. The objective of the cooperation is to speed the pace and enhance the quality of decisions in order to meet the expectations and demands for safer shipping. Agreement has been reached amongst the three societies on critical issues including: A common scheme for identifying, targeting and monitoring possible substandard vessels and to align ISM with other safety management control measures by linking future issuance of SMC Certificates to the classification of the vessel.

The objective will be to phase out over time the split responsibility that now exists when one society classes the vessel while another judges compliance with the ISM Code. With immediate effect the three societies will for all vessels instruct the surveyors to report at regular annual class surveys whether the conditions are such that an extraordinary ISM audit onboard is recommended. It was also recommended to: strengthen the Transfer of Class Agreement (TOCA) so that the losing society shall deal with Conditions of Class and outstandings before completion of change of class; introduce an Early Warning System to exchange information on sister ships; require two surveyors in attendance for all special surveys for tankers and bulk carriers above 15 years of age; Co-operate with respect to use of exclusive surveyors; establish common basic design criteria for ship design, including hydrodynamic loads and corrosion margins for standard ship types; Harmonization of Condition Assessment Programs (CAP); introducing common standards for training and qualification of Surveyors; increase transparency of information by establishing common formats for onboard and ashore information and increase the amount and quality of information available on Internet.

The other members of IACS are encouraged to adopt the ten initiatives. However, the adoption of the proposed measures by all IACS members is not a prerequisite for timely implementation by the three societies.

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