Monday, September 8, 2014

US Bureau Can Classify Japanese Merchant Vessels

VLCC is First Ship Classified by Foreign Society
Shipping News Feature

US – JAPAN – Offshore and maritime classification society, the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has added the first Japanese-flagged vessel to its classed fleet after having been awarded the status of a ‘Recognised Organisation’ (RO) by the Japanese government. The 302,488 dwt very large crude carrier, Yamatogawa, owned and managed by K Line, recently transferred flag, a move which made ABS the first foreign classification society to class a vessel flying the Japanese flag.

ABS, which gained status as an RO in Japan in December 2012, opened its first office in Japan in 1949 and has been supporting global shipowners there ever since. Earlier this year ABS was selected to serve as the first foreign classification society for a new construction Japanese-flagged vessel when Offshore Japan Corporation, a joint venture between K Line Kinkai and Offshore Operation, formed last year, announced the construction of a new anchor handling tug supply vessel to the ABS’ standards. Derek Novak, President and COO for ABS’ Pacific Division, said:

“We are honoured to become the first foreign class society to include a Japanese-flagged vessel in our fleet. This is testament to our long-term commitment to delivering the high levels of professionalism that are demanded by the top Japanese shipowners. We look forward to providing our best-in-class technical services and global support to a growing part of the Japanese commercial fleet in the coming years.”

Yamatowaga has been engaged in the transportation of crude oil to Japan since her initial delivery in December 2006, but previously flying a foreign flag. K Line has been pursuing a change in the flag of Yamatogawa from foreign to Japanese, working together with the Japanese government (Maritime Bureau of Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT)), ABS, and other concerned parties, in order to meet its own corporate strategy to increase Japanese-flagged vessels that the company owns or operates, which is compliant with the government’s political agenda for the deliberate increase of Japanese-flagged vessels.

The RO designation allows ABS to provide statutory certification services to Japanese-flagged vessels on behalf of the government and it allows ABS to verify the compliance of those vessels with the major international safety and environmental conventions such as the International Load Line, SOLAS and MARPOL.