The operativity of a new and important register of marine certification has been ratified by decree and by law: the Ministry of Transport, in agreement with that of the Environment, the protection of the territory and the sea, has in fact approved the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) as Recognised Organisation (RO) “to carry out statutory certification services for ships registered in Italy falling within the scope of international conventions”.
The ministerial intervention is certainly positive for Italian shipowners, considering the world network offered by ABS, probably the largest classification society able to preserve over time its specialisation in the ‘marine’ sector, with a technological capacity dedicated solely to the service of ships and offshore. The authorisation from the Ministry of Transport allows ABS to check the compliance of Italian flagged vessels with the main International Conventions on safety and prevention of pollution: the international Load Line, the SOLAS and MARPOL conventions.
After changes to the agreements imposed by the European economic community, today ABS can provide the full range of services. The local technical office is particularly important for shipowners, especially in a season where shipping companies are preparing to adapt to increasingly stringent rules and new environmental impact regulations, from MRV (Monitoring,Reporting and Verification) to the application of ballast water legislation, as well as the use of low sulphur fuels set for 2020. As the first body accredited to conduct MRV audits in Europe, ABS has committed itself to simplifying and rationalising the verification process to the benefit of shipowners and operators. The key points of the MRV standard are the detection and monitoring system that must be verified by an independent third party.
To simplify the relationship, ABS has developed the “Nautical System Voyage Manager” software, a “cloud based” tool that facilitates the verification of compliance with the European rules and other standards related to pollution, not least the collection of emission measurements of CO2 required by the IMO.
The next pressing question will certainly be the installation of the Ballast Water Management System (BWMS): even if the coming into force has been postponed for two years, in fact it is already in being with relation to the renewal date of the International Oil Pollution Prevention certificate (IOPP). For some ships the date on which the convention will start has been moved to facilitate installation in more reasonable times, but no further postponements are planned. To facilitate this task, ABS has set up the “BWMS Technology Evaluation Service”, which helps shipowners to better understand the requirements, analyse their fleet and identify the most appropriate modifications based on an objective assessment.
From the central office located in the ancient harbour of Genoa and from the offices of La Spezia, Livorno, Trieste, Naples, Bergamo and Brescia, with an Italian market share of around 10%, ABS has over time extended its services to our shipowning companies, always more addressed to the great opportunities offered by the international market. So, is everything clear for shipowners? Almost. Relations between the Ministries of Transport and the Environment continue to be complex and cumbersome. And Italy has not yet ratified the Ballast Water Convention, a reality with which Italian shipowners have to compare themselves on a global scale.