Recognizing and Congratulating the American Bureau of Shipping on Its 150th Anniversary

Floor Speech

By:  Frank LoBiondo
Date: Jan. 18, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. LOBIONDO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize and congratulate the American Bureau of Shipping on its 150th anniversary.

What today is known as the American Bureau of Shipping, or ABS, was originally founded by John Divine Jones as the American Shipmasters' Association. Through a legislative act by the State of New York, the Association was formally incorporated on April 22, 1862.

From the time of its founding, ABS has been committed to its mission to promote the safety of life, property and the natural environment. To fulfill this mission, ABS has evolved into a global not-for-profit organization with more than 200 offices in 70 different countries.

ABS published its first technical standards, Rules for Survey and Classing Wooden Vessels, in 1870. As the technology evolved, so too did ABS' rules. In 1890, ABS published its first version of the Rules for Building and Classing Steel Vessels. These Steel Vessel Rules continue to be revised and published annually, embodying the service, experience, and technological achievements accumulated since that first edition.

With the passage of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, ABS became the Agent of the United States Government on all matters of ship classification for government vessels. This led to ABS providing classification services for 2,710 Liberty Ships and 531 Victory Ships during World War II. This record of working side-by-side with our naval shipbuilders continues today as ABS provides classification-related services to a host of government vessels including the Navy's DDG-1000 and Littoral Combat Ships; the Coast Guard's Offshore Patrol Cutter and Fast Response Cutters; and NOAAs Oceanographic Research vessels. ABS also works with the Military Sealift Command and Maritime Administration Ready Reserve Force in support of our national sealift capabilities.

ABS continues to be a leader in establishing technical standards for the commercial maritime industry as well. This longstanding technical experience has led to ABS providing over 3,000 inspections of commercial U.S.-flagged ships on behalf of the U.S. Coast Guard this past year.
ABS has also provided guidance and support to the offshore energy industry for more than five decades. In recent years ABS has provided independent third party safety, security, and risk assessments to insurance, chemical, mining, nuclear power and renewable energy companies, as well as the U.S. Government.

Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join with me in congratulating ABS on its 150th anniversary and in recognizing ABS' significant service to the American marine and offshore industries and our sea services. As the Classification Society of the United States, ABS continues to serve today as a vanguard to mariners, public safety, and our natural environment.