New IACS chairman holds series of meetings with maritime industry stakeholders

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Christopher J Wiernicki, President and CEO, ABS
Christopher Wiernicki, President and CEO, ABS and new IACS chairman

ABS President and CEO Christopher Wiernicki has taken part in a series of meetings with maritime industry stakeholders in his capacity as chairman of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS).

Together with IACS Secretary-General Robert Ashdown, Mr Wiernicki also hosted a press conference at which he laid out the organisation’s work programme for the coming year. Wiernicki assumed the chairmanship of IACS in July 2015 and will lead the organization at a challenging time for the industry.

The IACS strategic plan has been designed to address both the current and future needs of the shipping industry by focusing on three key areas: structural, machinery and cyber system integrity. IACS will advance the creation of a cyber-system safety framework that addresses control systems, software quality assurance, data integrity and cyber security, enhancing the initiative that was commenced in 2014.

Other key focus areas include ensuring a smooth completion of the initial round of audits for the IMO Goal-Based Standards process and ongoing work to ensure that its Quality System Certification Scheme (QSCS) remains the ‘gold standard’ for classification society performance.

His programme of meetings included the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization and representatives of the European Commission in Brussels. Mr Wiernicki identified the importance of strengthening the IACS relationship to the IMO, while maintaining a positive dialogue with all flag administrations.

Meetings with INTERCARGO, INTERTANKO and BIMCO sought to outline IACS priorities and discuss issues of common interest. Many of the topics covered are closely aligned with ABS’s own work.

Mr Wiernicki said: “Increasingly complex regulations, the advance of new technology and the increasing importance of the man-machine interface makes IACS’ industry leadership more critical than ever in helping the industry manage these technical risks. As a truly international organization, we will work with all relevant stakeholders to reinforce how a single, united IACS contributes to a safe and more efficient shipping industry.

“I expect IACS to remain very closely engaged at the centre of shipping safety in the 12 months of my chairmanship. Being able to draw on the experience of the IACS Council to provide guidance, insight and leadership on the technical and safety issues faced by the industry will keep us squarely focused on safety and environmental protection, supporting the industry IACS was created to serve.”