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New ABS Notation Offers Operators Increased Confidence In Software

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

May 5, 2011

(Houston, TX---)   Class society ABS announces the development of the Guide for Integrated Software Quality Management (ISQM) and an associated optional notation. As the offshore industry has increased reliance on computer controlled systems, validating software programs including their integration, has become vital to safe and efficient operations.

ISQM is a risk-based software development and maintenance process built on internationally recognized standards. The ISQM process validates the software installation on the unit and then monitors for consistency when there are software updates or a change in hardware. ISQM provides a process to manage software over the offshore unit’s life.

“There is growing recognition within industry that organizations will need to institute a change management process for software,” says Bret Montaruli, ABS Vice President, Offshore Technology. “Industry has traditionally focused on structures and equipment, however, software has become such an important component in the operational phase that it must now be given special consideration. The benefit to owners and operators is an increased level of confidence in software reliability with the goal of decreasing downtime and reducing the risk of software related incidents.”

As control systems for offshore installations and units become increasingly more complex and highly integrated, successful implementation relies heavily on the software developed by multiple vendors and the interfaces required for the integration of the software. The ABS ISQM Guide places emphasis on the verification and validation of the multiple software packages.

“Operators benefit from the process by verifying that the software has been developed in a recognized process that meets the operator’s needs and performs as expected,” says Paul R. Walters, ABS Senior Principal Engineer, Electrical & Controls, Offshore Technology. “The software installed at delivery does not sit in a vacuum. Upgrades and new releases are routinely made by vendors which may introduce errors into the system and increase downtime or cause other operating problems.”

Founded in 1862, ABS is a leading international classification society devoted to promoting the security of life, property and the marine environment through the development and verification of standards for the design, construction and operational maintenance of marine-related facilities.


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