Friday, June 8, 2018

Challenges for Vessel Classification Society are Autonomous Vessels and Cyber Security in Shipping  

Outgoing Chairman Reviews Huge Changes to Ship Design During His Tenure

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Shipping News Feature GREECE – WORLDWIDE – With his retirement from the role due next month, current Chairman of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, also the CEO of DNV-GL, chose Posidonia 2018, the biennual ship builders and owners trade show in Athens, to review some of the rapid changes which have been happening in the industry. He identified the need for classification societies and IACS itself to be adaptable and prepared for change, and pointed out great progress had been made in modernising classification to deal with the digital transformation of shipping during his tenure, continuing:

“I’m pleased to see the progress that was made in modernising the concept of class, to adapt to the digital transformation we see in shipping today. I say transformation because the progress has truly been astonishing. IACS has embraced the challenges and changes ahead, to support the industry – contributing to the development of a safer and more secure maritime world. Looking ahead, the organisation needs to continue to focus on being agile in addressing relevant industry topics, to strengthen the role of class and to ensure that IACS keeps its position as the leading technical association in these times of rapid change.”

Mr Ørbeck-Nilssen noted that, for the first time in almost a decade, IACS has carried out a substantial revision of its membership criteria. In addition, a new internal benchmarking process supports members in improving their performance. He said these were important steps and added that both the industry, and ways of working, are changing but the purpose of classification still remains the same, to protect life, property and the environment.

The organisation’s compliance rules and standards apply to over 90% of the world’s cargo carrying tonnage and some of the latest challenges facing the 12 classification societies which form the IACS, and which have influenced the departing Chairman’s time in office, were also highlighted. To help the maritime community ensure the cyber-resilience of their assets, IACS established a joint industry working group focused on cyber safety. In its own panel, IACS is developing a number of recommendations for the newbuilding stage to assist shipbuilders in delivering cyber-resilient vessels.

As autonomy makes rapid strides within the world of ships and shipping, an IACS working group has examined all the relevant resolutions, to identify which standards present potential regulatory barriers to autonomous ship operations. The findings included barriers relating to machinery and electrical systems, safety systems, hull structures and survey procedures. As a next step, a pilot project looked at how to overcome these barriers. Robert Ashdown, IACS Secretary General, bid farewell to the outgoing Chairman, saying:

“On behalf of the IACS organisation I would like to thank Knut and the DNV GL IACS team for the great collaboration throughout this chairmanship. The Chairman’s drive and ambition to modernise classification have prompted valuable discussions with the industry and the development of a robust long-term strategy that ensures the IACS organisation is fit for the future.”

Photo: IACS Chairman Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen (left) and Robert Ashdown, IACS Secretary General.

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