Council 81 Meets and Elects New IACS Chair
IACS Council meets virtually to drive forward progress on a range of technical initiatives and elects Mr Koichi Fujiwara of ClassNK as its new Chair.
The IACS Council held its 81st session (C81) by video-conference, a first in the 50-year history of the Association. Chaired by Indian Register of Shipping Executive Chairman, Mr Arun Sharma, C81 advanced a number of key issues to position IACS well to meet the technical and regulatory challenges of the future as well as those arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
C81 recognised the ongoing impact COVID-19 is having on shipping operations and reaffirmed its determination to support the industry and IMO by quickly developing and implementing initiatives targeted at facilitating international trade through its dedicated COVID-19 Task Force. Aside from supporting the industry, C81 also stressed IACS’ determination to continually maintain and minimise the impact on its Quality Management System certification by prioritising audit types and use of remote auditing techniques in cooperation with ACBs1 and in accordance with the IAF2 requirements, with both approaches encapsulating IACS’ commitment to combining pragmatism and innovation without compromising quality and safety or environmental standards.
IACS Council also discussed the increased use of remote surveys by Members necessitated by COVID-19 and initiated work to define what constitutes remote surveys, their scope and the techniques available, with the overriding objective that the results of remote surveys are to be of same quality and consistency as those conducted with a surveyor on board.
C81 was also pleased to note the good progress made in the development of its data-driven policy which will be rolled out across the Association later this year. Driven by the need to provide policy makers and stakeholders with objectively justified, scientifically evidenced positions, this was recognised as crucial in enabling IACS to continue to support the industry through this time of rapid technological and regulatory change.
In this context, C81 also welcomed the launch of IACS Recommendation (#166) on Cyber Resilience which marks a significant milestone in IACS’ work to support the maritime industry in the delivery of cyber resilient ships. IACS Council particularly welcomed the significant cross-industry cooperation that led to its development and undertook to maintain that dialogue during the assessment of its practical implementation and effectiveness.
On Quality matters, IACS Council also welcomed the issuance by IQARB (International Quality Assessment Review Body) of Factual Statements for each of the 12 IACS Members which provide an external endorsement of IACS QSCS and Members’ compliance therewith. Furthermore, and set against the background of the decreasing trend in Port State Control detentions, the IACS Council was also pleased to confirm that all IACS Members had once more successfully completed their periodic membership review that ensures their ongoing membership of the Association.
C81 marked the conclusion of the Indian Register’s Chairmanship of IACS. Looking back on his year in office, IRS Executive Chairman, Mr Arun Sharma, “The previous 12 months have seen significant advances by IACS across a range of topics including the establishment of a data-driven policy, strengthening IACS’ approach to Quality to maintain and enhance quality operations and further progress with IQARB, a consolidated IACS Recommendation on Cyber Resilience and the establishment of an Expert Group on MASS. I am most proud, however, of IACS support to industry and IMO during the COVID-19 pandemic by adopting a flexible and pragmatic approach that nevertheless remains true to the safety and environmental objectives of the classification and statutory regimes.’
Taking over the IACS Chairmanship on 1 July 2020 is Mr Koichi Fujiwara, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ClassNK, who said ‘I am taking on the Chairmanship of IACS at an especially challenging time for the industry. My objective is to ensure that IACS continues to meet the needs of its stakeholders by providing the necessary technical leadership and guidance to facilitate the smooth introduction and harmonisation of new technologies and regulations in order to maximise the benefits of digitalisation and help accelerate decarbonisation.’
Addressing the IACS Council, Mr Fujiwara outlined how his Chairmanship will strive for the further strengthening of IACS to make it more responsive and efficient to deal with external challenges, such as those imposed by the current COVID-19 pandemic, on shipping industry in general and Classification regime in particular, while also enhancing Members’ quality performance to contribute to the common goal of safer and cleaner shipping from both short and long term perspectives.
Congratulating Mr Sharma on his time in office, Mr Fujiwara continued ‘Mr Sharma’s Chairmanship over the past year has not only seen substantial progress in a number of key areas but he has also maintained the Association’s momentum during the considerable challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. I inherit an organisation in strong shape and one that is positioning itself well for the future. I look forward to leading IACS through the next stages of its journey.’