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March 15, 2001

Big Three class societies launch sweeping safety initiatives
Another ripple in the not-so-calm waters of the classification society world. American Bureau of Shipping, Det Norske Veritas and Lloyd’s Register have announced a series of initiatives to further improve the safety of international shipping. And they won't wait for the the smaller societies to catch up before they implement them. The three leading classification societies have agreed on ten actions that will strengthen the classification system and make poor quality vessels easier to identify and act upon.

The past twelve months have highlighted an apparent weakness in the ability of classification societies to respond to critical issues facing shipping. The Big Three says that "while continuing to support IACS" (the International Association of Classification Societies), they "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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Requiring two surveyors in attendance for all special surveys for tankers and bulk carriers above 15 years of age. (Special Survey # 3 and beyond.)
  • 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)
  • Introduce 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 to their implementation by ABS, Lloyd's and DNV.

BV RESPONDS
The initiative has drawn a slightly snippy response from Bureau Veritas. The French-based society says says it "welcomes the announcement from ABS, DNV and LR that they will support the
classification initiatives which BV had previously agreed to develop within IACS after discussions with OCIMF and Intertanko."

"BV is working with all our colleagues within IACS to strengthen ship
safety, and we have already had discussions with our European and Asian colleagues, who also support these initiatives," says Bernard Anne, head of BV's marine division. "We strongly believe that IACS is the technical cooperative forum within which leading societies can help others to achieve the high standards which our industry needs."

Anne says that, back in November last year, BV instituted the targeting and monitoring systems and surveyor training systems now being adopted by the Big Three by the three other leaders in November last year. He says BV is "glad to seeothers following our lead."

Three or four societies alone can only have a limited impact, says Anne. "Global standards require an inclusive global approach, which is what we are pursuing."

"BV particularly welcomes the focus on ISM, which we consider will be the long term key to better ship operation," says Anne. "Owners must face their responsibilities. We can help them, and a closer focus on ISM will be part of that."

Wärtsilä ups stake in Japanese joint venture
Wärtsilä and Hitachi Zosen Corporation, the joint owners of Wärtsilä’s 50/50 joint venture in Japan, Wärtsilä Diesel Japan, have concluded an agreement whereby Wärtsilä will increase its holding in the company to 85% and the second owner of the company will be Hitachi Zosen’s subsidiary Imex Co. Ltd.

This change is in line with Wärtsilä’s strategy of being the majority owner in its global sales and service network companies.

Wärtsilä and Hitachi Zosen established Wärtsilä Diesel Japan Co Ltd in 1997 to manufacture Wärtsilä 20 and 32 engines and to sell both these and other Wärtsilä engines in the Japanese market.

Wärtsilä and Hitachi Zosen’s subsidiary Imex will continue to collaborate in gen set assembly. Koji Ichikawa has been appointed president and Akira Kanazawa EVP of the company.

Wärtsilä has another company in Japan, NSD Japan Ltd, which supports license manufacturing of the group’s Sulzer engines. It is planned to merge Wärtsilä Diesel Japan and NSD Japan. The new company resulting from the merger will be called Wärtsilä Japan Co Ltd., with about 30 people.

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