We have discussed ClassNK with Turkey Country Manager Akihiko Uotani
He said, "Simply, whatever conflict we might face, it is our fundamental duty to second our customers to get over it."
Hüseyin Altay Yontan | Exclusive Interview
Can you please tell about yourself, Mr.Uotani?
I am very glad to be here and I’m looking forward to deepening the relationship with our Turkish Clients and ClassNK. Turkey has long been an important region for ClassNK, even before the establishment of our Istanbul Office in 1994.
I started my career as marine engineer working on board. After several years, I joined ClassNK and became a surveyor, where I carried our plan approvals, field surveys, management systems certifications, and many other tasks that came with this position. As I was fortunate enough to serve both on board vessels, and as a surveyor on the other side of the spectrum, I feel that it helped me get a better sense of the entire process.
Later, I oversaw ClassNK’s activities in South-East Asia as Regional Manager based in Singapore. ClassNK’s decision to assign me as Country Manager here in Turkey is just part of our commitment to our Turkish clients.
Can you please give some information about ClassNK Academy?
ClassNK Academy courses worldwide to provide people employed in the maritime industry with a working knowledge of shipping and shipbuilding, focusing specifically on surveys, inspections and ship management. We plan to hold Academy courses in Turkey twice over the course of 2017.
What is the amount of tonnage under ClassNK register in the global industry?
ClassNK is one of the world’s largest classification societies with more than 240 million gross tons, or some 20% of the world’s merchant fleet on our register.
What are the main activities of ClassNK in Turkey?
We offer diverse technical services including the survey and classification of ships and marine structures based on technical independently developed rules, statutory surveys performed on behalf of Turkey and more than 100 other flag States, management system certifications based on ISO and other international standards, as well as other services to help our clients safeguard ships, their crews, and their cargo, while protecting the marine environment.
Does ClassNK have any studies on environmental factors? (Or any study different than other class societies?)
While we do not have specific studies for release at the moment, our commitment to the environment can be clearly seen in our efforts to support the improvement of ship recycling yards and the development of eco-friendly technologies. Our apporach to the environment is a proactive support role, which means we work directly with stakeholders to help improve their environmental performance.
2016 was a tough year. How was ClassNK’s activites in 2016? Could you be able to convert crisis into a benefit/an advantage?
As a non-profit organization, our first concern is the needs of our clients, rather than trying to create an advantage. Simply put, whatever challenges that occur, it is our job to support clients overcoming them. While this is not a particular advantage, the patronage of our clients in helping them overcome the tough times is naturally the driving force behind our continued success.
What are ClassNK’s activities in indsutrial zones?
For ClassNK, the importance of safety does not stop at sea. The increased integration of operations in the industry requires a more holisitic approach to ensuring safety. In line with this, we have expanded our services to make safety the number one priority, regardless of whether it is on board or on shore.
As part of this initiative, ClassNK has been engaged in the certification of quality, environmental, energy, and occupational health and safety management systems in accordance with the requirements of the respective standards, such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 50001 or OHSAS 18001. We also offer certification services for Road Traffic Safety Management Systems in accordance with the requirements of the ISO 39001 standard.
What are the projects of ClassNK for 2017, regarding the protection of environment and seas?
There are a number of regulatory challenges that the shipping sector will face over the coming year, and ClassNK is working to support owners achieve smooth compliance. One notable regulation coming into force soon is the EU-MRV Regulation (Monitoring, Reporting, Verification), which will require all shipowners and operators of vessels over 5,000 gt traveling to, from and between EU ports to monitor, report their verified CO2 emissions for each of their ships, the first stage of which will involve submitting a monitoring plan to an accredited verifier by 31 August 2017. In order to support our clients operating in this region, ClassNK has applied to become an accredited verifier to allow us to verify and approve the plans of our clients.
The EU Ship Recycling Regulation also poses a new challenge to the industry. Although shipowers and operators may not be directly affected by this legislation, ship recycling yards will be keen to comply with these new standards. This may require improvements in recycling procedures and investment in new facilities, but will ultimately contribute towards the safer and greener recycling of vessels around the world. ClassNK granted the world’s first Statement of Compliance in line with the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009 (the Hong Kong Convention), and has granted over ten more since then. We have long supported environmentally friendly recycling, and are actively working with ship recycling yards around the world to help bring them up to standard.
What are the projects/studies of ClassNK in 2017, in Turkey and this Region ?
Turkey is an important maritime nation, and the industry here has continued to grow from strength to strength over the years. To support the needs of our valued clients and facilitate this expanding market, we will be opening two new survey stations in Izmir and Mersin scheduled in January 2017.
What is the overall projection/idea of ClassNK for 2017?
The global maritime industry is currently experiencing some volatility, and ClassNK is no different. With so many uncertain factors in play, it is nearly impossible to tell what 2017 holds in store for the industry. However, what is certain is that ClassNK’s commitment to supporting the needs of our clients will not change.
Vira Maritime | Exclusive Interview