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Middle East class society Tasneef taking its case to IACS next year

Young classification society Tasneef will apply for International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) membership next year, despite the association's entry requirement dictating that companies must have been established for a decade.

Putting IACS chairman Philippe Donche-Gay on the spot during the Dubai Maritime Summit, Fichte & Co managing partner Jasmine Fichte asked whether the association would waive one of its rules to allow the Middle East class society Tasneef to join its ranks.

Fichte explained that the UAE-based class society is the product of a 2009 initiative backed by leading national maritime interests. Launched in 2012, the company is at risk of being put on hold for eight years due to IACS rules.

"The problem Tasneef are facing now is thatthey have a lot of shipowners that want to support them, but some of those shipowners are not just in the offshore business but in the ocean going business. They want their ships to be classed by Tasneef and Tasneef is saying they are ready to do so, but the problem is that to have insurance cover you need an IACS class, so Tasneef has to go back to the owners and explain the potential insurance problems," Fichte said.

"IACS is asking for a company to have been around for ten years before joining, what we in the Middle East are asking is if there is any chance of having this waived, because otherwise it means having Tasneef literally on hold for 10 years."

"I wasn't aware exactly of the 10 year limit," answered Donche-Gay. "We consider joining IACS requires some form of track record... What I know is that the application process certainly requires to have operations and quality systems compatible with IACS quality systems for a given period of time. I am not sure it takes ten years, but if you are ready at two, maybe you don't need the extra eight to get there.

"It's a question then of discussing with IACS, and we will be willing to consult, on what's the best time to apply for membership. It's not just a tick in the box, you need to demonstrate proficiency. It is important that IACS keeps its credibility, maybe it's better to wait two more years."

Listening from the front row of the standing room only conference room, Rashed Al Hebsi, ceo of Tasneef, put forward his company's case, "The way Tasneef was established was actually using the best practices that have already been emphasised by IACS."

"There is a management system that is required, there is an external auditing system that controls the management system, there are rules and capabilities for the classification that need to be there and not just that, there is a capability of development of those rules up to the changes and modifications and amendments that are being made, either on the international level through IMO conventions or or a regional level through the European Union or the GCC level, and on a national level.

"Beside that there is the qualification system which is the quality of the people that have to be able to conduct surveys onboard vessels or provide approval services to ships under construction, what we basically did, was implemented fully the IACS system. from management system from quality perspective from qualification systems the qualification of our staff is already compliant with IACS.

"We are ready to apply for IACS immediately because we did this work prior to the launch of Tasneef itself. The only box that is not yet ticked is the 10 year age. From our perspective, it is quite possible for an older company to provide a lower quality service than a younger one. This is why we think we are already qualified to be IACS members, except for this 10 year rule.

"According to our plan, next summer we will bring our file to IACS and hopefully we don't consider this 10 year as an obstacle because from our perspective it is a monopoly somehow to have only ten year old companies only that are part of an international association that is not part of any government."

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