The ongoing situation with the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling accident has caused the MMS to dedicate considerable resources to the successful resolution of this event, which will conflict with holding this ceremony next week.
The MMS will announce how the agency will proceed with the 2010 SAFE Award program during the next several weeks. The MMS apologizes for any inconvenience and thanks the organizers of the OTC for their understanding of our current situation.
6. ABS Reaches New Highs in 2009
Deliveries from what ABS Chairman and CEO Robert D. Somerville characterized as a “very robust orderbook” pushed the society to a new record fleet high of 159.5m gt by the end of 2009, the society’s leader told the Annual Meeting of Members in New York. He added that the growth has continued unabated during the first quarter of 2010, with the fleet reaching 162m gt by the end of March.
The year-on-year tonnage increase of 15.4m gt was the largest ever recorded by ABS, outpacing even the rapid expansion that occurred during the last great shipbuilding boom of the late 1970s. Somerville acknowledged that there had been “a manageable number” of orders cancelled during the year but “more significantly, what we found was that many owners worked with the shipyards to defer deliveries or to substitute different ship types or sizes for those on order.”
The result, he told the members attending the meeting, has been beneficial to the society. “We can now look to a more rational workflow over an extended period,” he said. He noted that the society had won new class contracts for more than 10m gt in 2009, during what was the most depressed shipbuilding market in recent memory. The new orders meant that the overall ABS orderbook declined by only 5m gt year-on-year.
“We are very conscious of the cyclical swings, the feast and famine years, of the shipping and offshore industries and the successes of the last few years have meant we are now very well positioned to deal with the expected future softness of the newbuilding market,” Somerville said.
The ABS chief executive told the society’s members that “the future is much on our minds at present.” Referring to the changes in membership of IACS, changes related to equipment certification imposed by the European Commission and other stimuli, he said that “class, in the future, will have to evolve. It is clear to me that, for a wide variety of very understandable reasons, class has yet to position itself for the 21st century.”
Acknowledging the strictures under which class operates, he suggested that “perhaps the hardest challenge will be to convince many in the maritime community to change their approach to class and accept we have a common interest in promoting safety.”
For example, he noted that some forward looking owners have realized “the potency of sharing operational data with class, but they are still the minority despite the potential benefits.”
Somerville went on to outline a future based on a data sharing partnership between class and the operator that has the potential to not only increase safety but also offer the operator a more efficient, less intrusive survey regime over the life of a ship.
He cited as an example, the recent program worked out between class, some prominent flag States and a major container operator whereby, through sharing data, the drydock interval for selected new ships has been pushed back from a five year to a seven and half year cycle.
“We need to move from a traditional policeman role to one where we can more effectively partner with our clients with the ultimate objective of more safely and efficiently maintaining their fleets. The more we share information, the easier it will be to achieve those goals.”.