In its centennial year, classification society Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) is poised to build a permanent presence in the U.S. and Canada. Last year, under the leadership of Mikhail Ayvazov, offices were opened in Panama, South Korea, UAE, Italy, The Netherlands, Greece and Belarus. Ayvazov now has China and Japan in his sights, too.
“RS services shouldn’t just be limited to Russian industry,” says Ayvazov. “One of the priorities for RS is increasing its share in the high-technology segments of the classification service market, where RS competence is traditionally high. Among such segments are the whole complex of offshore and floating facilities, offshore field development infrastructure as well as ice-class vessels and vessels with nuclear power plants.”
Ayvazov became CEO in 2011 after a maritime career that started offshore in 1989 as a hydrographic engineer. His early expertise soon expanded into offshore construction, shipbuilding and business management. Since 1997 he has held board positions at Oil Investment House, heavy engineering companies Izhorskiye Zavody and OMZ, Krasnoye Sormovo Shipyard, Almaz Shipbuilding Company, Volgograd Shipbuilding Yard, and Russia’s Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs.
Offshore a Key Focus
Russia’s offshore industry is a key focus area for RS, and the society has been involved in all major projects undertaken there. The Caspian Sea, Sakhalin Island and Varandey Field are extensively developed already, and the Shtokman Field and the Yamal Fields are in the planning stages. Recent examples of RS’s involvement offshore include the design, working documentation and survey for ice-resistant offshore fixed platforms and semi-submersible floating drilling rigs for the Kravtsovskoye, Y. Korchagin and Prirazlomnoye fields and technical evaluations for the Dzhubga-Lazarevskoye-Sochi gas pipeline. Also, Caspian Explorer, the first Kazakhstan floating drilling rig, was completed in 2012 to joint RS and ABS class.
There is a severe need for offshore oil field surface facilities, auxiliary fleet, underwater pipelines and other accompanying infrastructure to advance hydrocarbon exploration and extraction projects on Russia’s continental shelf, says Ayvazov. That is what attracted him to RS. “Now it is time to take a more fundamental view of the industry and to look into its essential elements: scientific and technical achievements as well as global safety, environmental and other standards that regulate the industry. A classification society should integrate these elements into a set of clear and comprehensive rules and therefore assist the industry to keep the balance between business and public interest.”
RS was established in 1913 through the efforts of eight Russian insurance societies. They needed a transparent system for the classification and survey of ships in order to correctly define underwriting risks based on an individual ship’s level of safety. It is therefore notable that 100 years later RS has renewed its cooperation with insurance companies and has signed a contract with leading Russian insurers. From now on insurance companies can benefit from RS’s survey services and its statistical databases.
For historical, political and geographical reasons, RS has acquired unrivalled expertise in high technology shipbuilding projects, says Ayvazov. Current projects include the survey of a series of diesel-electric icebreakers being built at United Shipbuilding Corporation in Russia. The Baltiysky Zavod, the world’s first floating nuclear electric power plant, is being completed under RS survey, and the construction of a 60MW nuclear icebreaker is planned for completion in 2017. “We hope to sign a contract on its construction and that of its two sister ships in the near future,” says Ayvazov.
Further afield, RS’s two newly opened offices in Korea went straight to work on six ice-class gas carriers under construction there to dual RS and LR class. Four of them are vessels with 170,000 m3 capacity membrane-type cargo tanks with RS acting as the lead society.
Ayvazov has restructured RS so that its whole range of services – from first contact with a customer and the examination of technical documentation through the survey of materials, product manufacture, and survey of vessels during construction and operation – is now under single control. “Such reorganization has enabled us to make the RS management scheme compliant with up-to-date market requirements and, in our opinion, should yield positive results for RS’s global plans,” he concluded. – MarEx
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.