ABS leader outlines strategic plan for global classification societies

The following is the text of a news release from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS):

(HOUSTON) — ABS Chairman, President and CEO Christopher J. Wiernicki has taken part in a series of meetings with maritime industry stakeholders in his capacity as chairman of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS).

Together with IACS Secretary-General Robert Ashdown, Wiernicki also hosted a news conference at which he laid out the organization's work program for the coming year. Wiernicki assumed the chairmanship of IACS in July 2015 and will lead the organization at a challenging time for the industry.

"Increasingly complex regulations, the advance of new technology and the increasing importance of the man-machine interface makes IACS' industry leadership more critical than ever in helping the industry manage these technical risks," said Wiernicki. "As a truly international organization, we will work with all relevant stakeholders to reinforce how a single, united IACS contributes to a safe and more efficient shipping industry."

The IACS strategic plan has been designed to address both the current and future needs of the shipping industry by focusing on three key areas: structural, machinery and cyber system integrity. IACS will advance the creation of a cyber-system safety framework that addresses control systems, software quality assurance, data integrity and cyber security, enhancing the initiative that was commenced in 2014. 

Other key focus areas include ensuring a smooth completion of the initial round of audits for the IMO Goal-Based Standards process and ongoing work to ensure that its quality system certification scheme (QSCS) remains the "gold standard" for classification society performance.
His program of meetings included the secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization and representatives of the European Commission in Brussels. Wiernicki identified the importance of strengthening the IACS relationship to the IMO, while maintaining a positive dialogue with all flag administrations.

Further contacts with Intercargo, Intertanko and BIMCO sought to outline IACS priorities and discuss issues of common interest. Many of the topics covered are closely aligned with ABS' own work. 

"I expect IACS to remain very closely engaged at the center of shipping safety in the 12 months of my chairmanship," said Wiernicki. "Being able to draw on the experience of the IACS Council to provide guidance, insight and leadership on the technical and safety issues faced by the industry will keep us squarely focused on safety and environmental protection, supporting the industry IACS was created to serve."

About ABS

Founded in 1862, the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) is an international classification society devoted to promoting the security of life and property and preserving the natural environment through the development and verification of standards for the design, construction and operational maintenance of marine and offshore assets. 

By Professional Mariner Staff