ABS, MarAd reaffirm cooperation on National Defense Reserve Fleet

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

(WASHINGTON) — The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), a leading provider of international marine classification services, and the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MarAd) have entered into a new memorandum of agreement (MOA) establishing the policies and procedures regarding the survey and classification of the National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF). The agreement expands the working relationship that has existed between ABS and MarAd since the agency's inception in 1950, updating the last MOA signed in 1999.

The new agreement, signed by Maritime Administrator Paul N. Jaenichen and ABS Chairman, President and CEO Christopher J. Wiernicki, lays out several significant changes that will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the ABS-MarAd relationship. This includes harmonization with U.S. Coast Guard requirements and policies for the NDRF and defined preventative maintenance requirements based on vessel readiness levels. The agreement also establishes the MarAd ABS Quality Action Team to focus on improving timelines, efficiency, and cost effectiveness of survey and classification services.

"For more than a century ABS has worked alongside the U.S. government in maintaining a robust fleet capable of helping to meet national security needs in a manner that protects the safety of life, property and natural environment," says Wiernicki. "This new agreement will allow for ABS to continue supporting the Maritime Administration and National Defense Reserve Fleet by establishing a framework that leverages the latest practices, technologies and regulatory solutions to maintain a dynamic sealift capability."

Since the late 19th century, ABS has worked alongside the U.S. government on matters of classification, safety and technology development related to government-owned and operated vessels. The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 established ABS as the official classification society for U.S. government vessels. This relationship led to ABS playing an integral role in the strategic sealift efforts of World War II and other conflicts involving the U.S. military.

As a trusted organization to the U.S. government, ABS has recently assisted the Maritime Administration in a number of key missions. ABS mobilized surveyors and engineers to assist in ship activations for Operations Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Most recently, ABS supported activation of the Cape Ray, which involved modifications to support United Nations Security Council Resolution 2118 to dismantle Syria's cache of chemical weapons.

Today, ABS leverages its global experience and cutting edge technology development to provide classification and related services to the U.S. Navy, Military Sealift Command, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Science Foundation and Department of Homeland Security. In addition to its work with the federal government, ABS supports the classification needs of many state and local governments across the country.

"At ABS we are proud to bring our depth of knowledge to bear to help the U.S. government maintain a safe and efficient fleet," says Wiernicki. "We look forward to continuing our longstanding and historic relationship with the Maritime Administration."

By Professional Mariner Staff