Japanese classification society ClassNK has received U.S. Coast Guard authorization to participate in the Coast Guard’s Alternate Compliance Program (ACP), providing U.S.-flagged shipowners and operators more flexibility when it comes to surveys and inspections of their vessels.
The ACP was developed as an alternative method for U.S.-flagged vessels to fulfill the regulatory requirements for construction and operation. Under the program, ClassNK can now carry out a wide range of surveys and inspections on U.S.-flagged vessels on behalf of the USCG.
This is good news for owners of U.S.-flagged vessels, ClassNK says. In accordance with USCG requirements, U.S.-flagged vessels are required to undergo onboard inspections by the USCG before a Certificate of Inspection (COI) can be issued. Under the ACP however, the USCG can issue a COI to an NK-classed, U.S.-flagged vessel based upon reports from ClassNK without the need for duplicative inspections.
“This eases the financial and regulatory burden on shipowners whilst maintaining existing levels of safety,” ClassNK says in its statement announcing the authorization.
To be eligible to participate in the ACP, ClassNK had to satisfactorily perform a delegated function for two years from its first registration of a U.S.-flagged vessel and demonstrate its commitment to continuous quality and vigorous verification of each vessel’s compliance with applicable standards. ClassNK put their stamp on their first-ever U.S.-flagged ship in 2011 with the re-classing of the 2008-built oil product tanker SLNC PAX, owned by Schuyler Line Navigation Company (SLNC).
“Owners of US-flagged ships should be able to choose the classification society that best meets their needs,” commented ClassNK’s Regional Manager of North and Central America, Stewart Lee. “ClassNK’s timely and high-quality services consistently garner praise from shipowners, yards, designers and operators worldwide. Through the ACP we will continue providing our US clients with best-in-class services and support them in maintaining compliant, competitive operations.”
The ACP authorization is the latest in ClassNK’s expansion into the U.S. market. Since 2011, ClassNK surveyors have been authorized by the USCG to carry out the Load Line (LL) and Tonnage (TM69) survey for U.S.-flagged ships. In December 2012, their authorization was extended enabling ClassNK to render the full range of services for survey and certification for the SOLAS, MARPOL and AFS conventions, as well as to perform ISM Audits on behalf of the United States flag administration.