International Quality Assessment Review Body (IQARB) issues first certificates in February 2020

By Lars Lange, IUMI Secretary General

The IQARB members met at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) headquarters in London on 27 and 28 February 2020 for the second meeting of the body in its trial phase. The meeting was chaired by IUMI Secretary General Lars Lange and attended by Chile, Liberia, the Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Singapore, the United States, European Commission, IUMI, INTERTANKO, International Group of P & I Club, Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), SEA Europe and the IMO Observer to the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) Quality System Certification Scheme (QSCS). Also, in attendance were the IACS Secretariat and the IMO Secretariat. Additionally, to assist in the discussion and assessment, representatives of the IACS member classification societies were present.

The meeting considered, inter alia, reports of the IACS Quality Committee Chair on QSCS developments, of the IMO Observer to the IACS QSCS and of the IQARB Independent Quality Assessment Secretary (IQAS), together with the IACS Quality Secretary's explanation of the Factual Statement on individual classification societies and the Accredited Control Body (ACB) performance methodology, the gap analysis between the IACS Quality Management System Requirements (IQMSR) and the Recognised Organisation (RO) Code, the Factual Statements and information on the further development of IQARB. Based on the progress made in the inaugural meeting, this second meeting focused on the review of the certification process of the quality management system of IACS members with a view to issuance of the Factual Statements for IACS member societies, as well as the consideration of the further development of IQARB:

Issuance of Factual Statements: In the individual classification society/RO sessions IQARB members reviewed and assessed the certification process of the quality management of each of the 12 IACS members, using data statistics and analysis, including a statistical review of findings and "no findings", analysis of nature, trends and distribution of different categories of findings and effectiveness of corrective actions, followed by questions raised by IQARB members for simultaneous response by the classification society and the ACB under assessment. The process also included the analysis of specific samples for each classification society/RO which was discussed in depth by IQARB. The meeting agreed unanimously to issue Factual Statements for each classification society/RO with the content "IQARB endorses the Quality Secretary's Factual Statements without comment". The actual Factual Statements are set out in the annex to document MSC 102/INF.9 and are released into the public domain, e.g. in the quality homepage section of the IACS website.

Further development of IQARB: In light of relevant provision of the IQARB Protocol, IQARB members agreed to the establishment of a Steering Committee which shall work through correspondence. The meeting considered a proposal from IACS to establish a Technical Committee to explore the possibility of shared steering of IQMSR in line with the goal-based model in order to enable IQARB members to contribute to the further development of the audit standard IQMSR and agreed, in principle, to the establishment of a Technical Committee under the Steering Committee, subject to further consideration. With respect to further amendments to the Protocol, the meeting noted many comments made recently by IQARB members. More generally, it was commented that the Protocol should be developed on the basis of the establishment of IQARB as a permanent entity, rather than an instrument in the trial phase, taking into account the vision that IQARB could, for example, eventually embrace classification societies/ROs that are not IACS members and envisage an expansion of the number of flag States wishing to participate.

The results of “IQARB 2” were reported to the IMO Maritime Safety Committee’s 102 meeting scheduled for May 2020 (see papers MSC 102/22 and MSC 102/INF.9).