ABS earns auditor status for AWO's Responsible Carrier Program

The following is the text of a news release from the American Waterways Operators (AWO):

(SEATTLE) — ABS, a leading provider of classification and technical services to the marine and offshore industries, has been approved by the American Waterways Operators to carry out audits of its Responsible Carrier Program (RCP). The RCP, a safety management system for tugboat, towboat and barge companies, requires AWO member companies to undergo periodic management and vessel audits conducted by an independent third party.

Towing vessel operators serving the inland waterways, coasts and harbors are looking closely at their fleets to determine the best way to meet the new U.S. Coast Guard Subchapter M regulations establishing vessel safety and inspection requirements. Vessel owners and operators can choose whether to opt for annual Coast Guard inspections or adopt a towing safety management system (TSMS). AWO has submitted the RCP for Coast Guard acceptance as a TSMS and anticipates final approval this fall.

"ABS recognizes that with new Subchapter M requirements in place, towing vessel owners need a trusted technical adviser that understands their unique operational challenges and can help navigate regulatory requirements," said ABS Chairman, President and CEO Christopher J. Wiernicki. "Gaining RCP auditor status adds to our wide-ranging solutions which are supported by a team of technical experts located strategically across the country and include a comprehensive suite of rules and guides that demonstrate our steadfast commitment to safety and environmental protection."

"This agreement with ABS expands the pool of well-qualified, well-trained third-party auditors who can conduct RCP/TSMS audits," said AWO President and CEO Tom Allegretti. "This is consistent with AWO's long-standing goal of facilitating member compliance with Subchapter M and raising standards of safety and environmental stewardship throughout the tugboat, towboat and barge industry."

"As we meet with towing vessel owners, we hear repeated requests for help in identifying compliance options that best fit their fleet needs," said ABS Americas Division President James Watson. "Achieving RCP approval expands ABS' offering and increases the portfolio of services we can offer towing vessel owners and operators on inland waterways, coasts, and harbors."

Located in every major U.S. port city, ABS' team of technical specialists is prepared to guide owners and operators to develop a compliance plan that meets and exceeds their individual needs.

The AWO has a 72-year history as the national advocate for the tugboat, towboat, and barge industry and is a recognized leader in maritime safety and environmental stewardship. Aligning the AWO's industry expertise and robust safety management system with the safety culture and experience of ABS will support the AWO's membership in meeting the technical, operational and regulatory challenges associated with the Subchapter M requirements.

By Professional Mariner Staff