Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, who will hand over the reins of International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) in July, examined how the association had evolved during his time as Chairman, while speaking at the Posidonia trade fair in Athens.
In an industry undergoing rapid change, the IACS Chairman identified the need for classification societies and IACS itself to be adaptable and prepared for change, while staying true to the core purpose of classification.
Ørbeck-Nilssen said that over the past year great progress had been made in modernising classification to deal with the digital transformation of shipping: “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,” he added.
“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,” said Robert Ashdown, IACS Secretary General. IACS’ achievements during this chairmanship cover key areas such as autonomous shipping, cyber security, modern survey techniques, and internal benchmarking.
In autonomy, 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.
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 for the association itself, 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, while increasing the transparency of member’s quality performance. “These are important steps towards ensuring that IACS provides consistency in its high-quality support and becomes more transparent in its internal procedures,” said Mr Ørbeck-Nilssen.
In closing, Ørbeck-Nilssen emphasised his belief in the continuing importance of IACS in changing and challenging times: “The industry is changing. Our ways of working may be changing. But the purpose of classification still remains the same: To protect life, property and the environment.”
Dedicated to safe ships and clean seas, the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) makes a unique contribution to maritime safety and regulation through technical support, compliance verification and research and development. More than 90% of the world’s cargo carrying tonnage is covered by the classification design, construction and through-life compliance Rules and standards set by the twelve Member Societies of IACS.