IMO & US Coast Guard Leaders Address 159th ABS Annual Members Meeting
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl Schultz along with Assistant Commandant Rear Admiral Richard Timme joined ABS Members from around the world to hear how the ABS classed fleet had grown in excess of 270 million gross tons despite the global pandemic, while ABS extended its leadership in digital and decarbonization support for the industry. ABS is the second largest Classification organization globally by gross tonnage.
ABS highlighted its ongoing safety leadership, along with superior top-ranked Port State Control performance and a leading global orderbook share at its 159th Annual Members Meeting. ABS remains the leading Classification organization across the global offshore market, as well as tops the global marine market in gas carriers and container carriers with a solid share of tankers. From publishing the industry’s first guidance on several COVID-19-related focus areas to continuing to deliver award-winning digital and decarbonization technologies to transform the industry safely and establish clear pathways on the journey to low and zero-carbon shipping, ABS cited numerous industry awards and recognition for its superior efforts in 2020.
“ABS is tough and well-positioned going forward. In fact, we are emerging stronger, as we leverage our lessons learned during one of the most unprecedented years. We have shown the world our strength through resilience and most importantly we are ready to lead our industry in the next normal,” said Christopher J. Wiernicki, ABS Chairman, President and CEO, in a presentation outlining key ABS achievements throughout 2020 and highlighting ABS leadership in the fields of digital and decarbonization.
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said: “ABS is one of the leading classification societies, and IMO and ABS share a core value to support the safe operation of ships in an increasingly complex environment, and to ensure the safety of life, and the protection of the environment.
“The COVID-19 pandemic presents many challenges, but we must seize the opportunity of digitalization in the maritime sector to enhance the resilience of the maritime supply chain and to support sustainable development. IMO is working to ensure shipping can embrace the digital revolution while ensuring safety, boosting environmental protection and managing cyber security risks. Classification societies will play a key role in the development and implementation phase of the digital revolution. Cooperation between all stakeholders from shipping, ports, and logistics will be vital to drive digitalization of shipping, enhanced efficiency and sustainability, and therefore, facilitating trade and fostering economic prosperity.”
U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Karl Schultz said: “Our seaports are the gateways for 90 percent of America's international trade, and ABS plays an important role in the uninterrupted flow of commerce on our waterways, which is critical to both our national security and our economic well-being.
“Over the past year, the threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic have stressed the continued operation of our marine transportation system. However, our essential maritime critical infrastructure workforce, which includes ABS members, have adapted and overcome the associated challenges. Thank you for the work you do, and for supporting this lifeline of our nation's economic prosperity, a vital link to global trade.”
Highlights of ABS’ performance in 2020 included further development of ABS sustainability capability with four centers of excellence in key locations, growth of the landmark condition-based maintenance project with the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command and rapid expansion of ABS remote survey capability as a cornerstone of its COVID-19 support for the industry.
Members also heard about the latest advances in the ABS Digital Class program, including 3D plan review, artificial intelligence, advanced modeling and simulation, remote technologies, condition-based programs and developments in smart services. All these elements are connected to each other and accessed through the ABS MyFreedomTM Client Portal and ABS App along with the ABS My Digital FleetTM breakthrough platform for operators to connect their data and help manage risk.
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