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Marine Log

March 12, 2008

ABS and Polish Register ink cooperation agreement

Christopher J. Wiernicki, President and Chief Operating Officer of ABS and Dr. Jan Jankowski, President of the Board, Polish Register of Shipping (Polski Rejestr Statkow) have signed what is described as "a wide-ranging cooperative agreement that will see the two class societies offering dual class services and exploring other areas of mutual interest. It is an agreement reached between the two societies that ushers in a new era of cooperation between ABS, one of the largest class societies and a prominent member of the International Association of Classification Societies, and the EU-recognized Polish society."

The Polish Register lost its associate membership in IACS in 2000. That expulsion still rankles in Poland. It is widely believed that it is complaints from Poland that are behind the investigation by European authorities of alleged anticompetitive practices in ship classification. As part of that investigation, European Commission officials in January raided the offices of IACS and its European member societies.

"The Polish Register has been carrying out an intense research and development program into safety criteria for bulk carriers and for smaller vessels over the last few years," said Wiernicki. "Their work has helped to advance the industry's understanding in these areas."

Coupled with the society's recognition by the EU in 2006, following a rigorous auditing process, and its contribution to discussions at the IMO through its national delegation, Wiernicki noted that "these efforts have sent a clear signal to industry of the commitment of Dr. Jankowski and the staff of PRS to the development and provision of classification services that enhance maritime safety. ABS is very pleased to begin working with them, both on new construction projects and future research efforts, to our mutual benefit."

Dr. Jankowski welcomed the new agreement with ABS. "The combination of breakthroughs in the approach to developing safety regulations and information technology development pose significant challenges for classification societies,” he said. “This cooperation agreement with ABS is a clear expression of our desire to make a meaningful contribution to maritime safety. The dual class agreement between our two societies for two 38,000 dwt double hull bulk carriers that have been ordered from Tianjin Xmgang Shipbuilding in China by the Polish Steamship Company (Polsteam) is a good start."

The two societies are currently exploring avenues to develop the new relationship including sharing software and joint research and development projects.

"ABS has had a long standing presence in Poland," said Wiernicki. "We are currently expanding that presence with the opening of an engineering office and we foresee many opportunities for working more closely with Polish Register in Poland and in the major shipbuilding centers."

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