(New York, NY—) Class society ABS Chairman, Robert D. Somerville, reported another record performance in fleet size during 2010 at Tuesday’s annual meeting. An eight percent increase in gross tonnage from year-end 2009 resulted in the ABS-fleet reaching a new record of 173m gross tons (gt) representing 11,191 vessels.
Somerville pointed out that ABS is in a strong position with regards to the world orderbook holding more than 20 percent of the newbuild market. With the ABS orderbook standing at 45.7m gt at the close of 2010, the backlog provides confidence that classification activity will remain solid for the foreseeable future.
Attractive shipyard pricing led to a surprisingly robust flow of new orders to ABS class during the year, particularly for bulk carriers. There was also a resurgence of interest in newbuilds by container operators based on projections of trade growth. “As the class society for the largest containerships currently in service, the designs of which include many technical innovations, ABS is well-positioned to participate in the orders for the new generation of 18,000-20,000 teu containership vessels that are currently under discussion,” said Somerville.
ABS continued to build on its position as the preferred class society for mobil offshore drilling units (MODUs). In just the last few months of 2010, ABS received contracts for 43 MODUs, including options. ABS also retained its leading position in the production sector which includes floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) units; floating, storage and offloading (FSO) units; semisubmersibles, tension leg platforms (TLPs); and spars.
“Our success to-date is attributable to the outstanding service offered by our surveyors, engineering and administrative staff around the world,” Somerville said. To this point Somerville noted the class society has been at the forefront of raising environmental awareness across the industry. ABS had been educating industry and clients on the impact of various regulations and providing guidance on how to comply with new and pending standards. “ABS believes there is still much that can be done to further improve the shipping industry’s environmental performance,” said Somerville. “Our emphasis is on the development of practical approaches that are effective and enhance safety.”
Looking to the future, Somerville has expanded the role of current President Christopher J. Wiernicki to include Chief Executive Officer for the society.
Wiernicki will direct the overall management of the class society’s operations while Somerville remains Chairman of both ABS and the ABS Group of Companies continuing to chart the strategic direction for both organizations.
“The scope of classification services has expanded significantly over the last few years,” said Wiernicki. “My primary focus is positioning ABS at the forefront when it comes to anticipating and delivering the innovative products and services that defines us as the class society of choice for the future.”
Founded in 1862, ABS is a leading international classification society devoted to promoting the security of life, property and the marine environment through the development and verification of standards for the design, construction and operational maintenance of marine-related facilities.