Further to our Feb. 20 letter, ABS remains committed to supporting our global clients with our team continuing to provide services worldwide while complying with all government-directed health and operational requirements and guidance.
We remain focused on protecting the health of our colleagues, clients and members while taking steps to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
ABS has been a maritime safety leader for 150 years and we are using all that experience to inform our response to the outbreak. We are maintaining updated guidance for clients on our website at www.eagle.org.
ABS has introduced enhanced measures to ensure the safety of our employees and continuity of service.
- An incident management team is monitoring and coordinating our global response.
- All non-essential domestic and international air travel has been temporarily suspended.
- Colleagues are using virtual meeting technologies wherever possible.
- Employees in acutely affected areas are working from home
- We have instituted a thorough program of education and information to train colleagues to minimize the spread of infection.
Update – Remote Survey Options and Force Majeure
Leveraging our work since 2018, ABS continues to utilize alternative means for smarter, efficient, thorough and safe surveying experiences to minimize operational interruptions, especially in light of the current public health situation. With ABS Remote Survey, you have 24-hour worldwide coverage from our global network of surveyors. Currently, you may request the following surveys through remote operations:
Depending on the specific circumstances, ABS also may grant survey extensions as allowed by its Rules and IMO requirements and has a process in place for granting force majeure extensions for vessels scheduled to drydock for repairs or renewal surveys in affected areas.
In the event it is not possible for a Surveyor to immediately attend the vessel as scheduled, then ABS will grant a one-month extension of class surveys administratively without attendance.
Longer force majeure extensions (up to three months) require a surveyor to attend to complete surveys equivalent to annual class surveys to the extent possible afloat.
At the same time as ABS is processing the owner’s request for force majeure, we will contact the Flag Administration to extend the affected statutory certificates. To date, ABS has observed that the Flag Administrations are generally supportive and, provided the owner has a plan to address the surveys at the end of the extension, force majeure may be authorized.
As long as the owner has made alternate plans to complete required surveys at another shipyard, ABS will consider additional force majeure extensions as necessary.
The Assistant Chief Surveyor’s office is responsible for processing all requests for extensions within ABS, with a turnaround time of 48 hours or less in most cases. Kindly note the turnaround time may vary due to the volume of requests for extensions received.
You should note that ABS cannot consider a force majeure application that does not include a plan as to when the surveys will be completed.
Requests for postponement of surveys due to force majeure should be submitted to one of the ABS Hemisphere Survey departments as noted below:
Lou O’Donnell, Western Hemisphere Survey Department
Duncan Peart, Eastern Hemisphere Survey Department
Email Address: DL-EHsurveydept@eagle.org
As the extent of the COVID-19 situation continues to remain uncertain it may take some time for shipyards and other key stakeholders to resume normal operations. At ABS, we encourage each owner who applies for force majeure to make every effort to secure a docking slot at another shipyard in an unaffected region. We understand slots are filling up very quickly; however, securing an alternative location for docking will be beneficial if the situation is prolonged.
ABS remains committed to providing its full support to our clients in these extraordinary times and will continue to deliver services to the highest standards. Our commitment is to work with all our clients to keep everyone healthy and safe.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your nearest ABS office.