At its meeting in Hamburg on the 31st of May and 1 of June 2000, the Council of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS ) concentrated, amongst other topics, on the two recent serious ship accidents ERIKA and LEADER L. Council reviewed the situation and information on the ERIKA case and, noting that the special audits of ERIKA and 9 other ships recently transferred to RINA are not yet completed, endorsed earlier decisions to tighten the safety net for older ships, with the aim to eliminate sub-standard vessels.
Council realised it was too early to take additional measures at this point. Addressing self policing it was agreed that the IACS Internal Quality System is basically sound. It will be further strengthened regarding common self regulatory actions within IACS. IACS is introducing a Quality Management Review at Council level, addressing the performance of individual societies and the adequacy of the classification scheme in general. The aim is to achieve uniformly high quality standards amongst all IACS members with respect to all types of ships and flags.
In this context IACS Council acknowledged that RINA is presently undertaking a critical review of their Internal Safety Net, parallel to finalising their own ERIKA investigation. Regarding the sinking of LEADER L in the Western Atlantic on 23 March 2000, which had been classed by the Polish Register of Shipping, IACS reviewed the results of its special audit into the handling of this ship by PRS, an Associate of IACS. This review showed evidence of serious managerial shortcomings on the part of PRS similar to those which led to its temporary suspension from IACS membership in 1997. The Council noted that LEADER L had been operating under PRS class, evidently in poor condition, for some time. The facts in the audit report were not disputed by Polish Register of Shipping. IACS Council, in its determination not to tolerate substandard ships within the Association, consequently decided to terminate PRSís associate status in IACS with immediate effect.