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Chairman sets out transformation of IACS

(Posted on 30/03/18)

Speaking at Shipping 2018, the Connecticut Maritime Association’s (CMA) annual conference, Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, IACS Chairman and CEO of DNV GL – Maritime, looked at some of the initiatives taken at the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) that were changing the organisation. 

“It is my duty and honour to encourage the world’s biggest classification societies to pull together to adapt to this rapid pace of change and create a strong foundation for IACS as the leading maritime technical association,” said Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen. The changes at IACS were not a “sudden revolution, where we throw everything we know overboard and start back at one”, he said, but rather “an evolution, a gradual transformation to becoming more advanced, more transparent and more efficient in serving our industry.”

IACS was embracing the challenges of the digital transformation of shipping and had already launched several projects to help the industry adapt to recent shifts in markets, regulations and technologies, Ørbeck-Nilssen noted. In a dedicated working group, IACS has examined all the relevant resolutions, to identify which standards present potential regulatory barriers to autonomous ship operations. In addition, IACS is supporting the industry by leading the work on the development of a common terminology for different levels of autonomy.

To help the maritime community ensure the cyber-resilience of their assets, IACS established and is taking the lead in an industry working group focused on cyber safety. The working group addresses common safety issues with interconnected systems, sharing best practices and keeping up to date with new developments. To facilitate the use of modern survey technology, IACS is also taking a fresh look at its survey requirements. Potential revisions could cover advanced non-destructive testing and remote inspection techniques.

IACS itself was a focus of the changes as well, added Ørbeck-Nilssen: “As our way of working changes, the Association has taken a fresh look at its internal procedures. Our focus is to ensure that the services delivered by both new and existing members keep up with regulatory developments and meet the highest quality standards.”

But even in a rapidly changing world, IACS and the classification societies would stay true to their ideals, said Ørbeck-Nilssen: “And when everything around us is in motion, class aspires to be a beacon of light setting the course ahead – with modern requirements, transparent processes and the highest quality of service. The industry is changing. Our ways of working may be changing. But the purpose of classification remains the same: To protect life, property and the environment.”


Dedicated to safe ships and clean seas, 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.

Driven by our purpose of safeguarding life, property and the environment, DNV GL enables organizations to advance the safety and sustainability of their business. We provide classification, technical assurance, software and independent expert advisory services to the maritime, oil & gas and energy industries. We also provide certification services to customers across a wide range of industries. Operating in more than 100 countries, our professionals are dedicated to helping our customers make the world safer, smarter and greener.

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