Classification society American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has launched electronic certificates (e-Certificates) for its entire classed-fleet.

The tamper-proof, independently verifiable and secure e-Certificates are the digital equivalents of traditional ABS paper certificates.

Availability of the new certificates will be subject to individual Flag Administrations’ authorisation.

ABS chairman, president and CEO Christopher Wiernicki said: “E-Certificates are the latest product from ABS’ FutureClass programme.

“Defining the future of class focuses on the utilisation of data and digital technology to deliver benefits for our clients.

“ABS’ e-Certificates are a perfect example of how we strive to add value and operating efficiencies for our customers.”

“ABS e-Certificates deliver significantly enhanced productivity for our clients by reducing processing time and document handling costs.”

The new e-Certificate system is designed to enable a simultaneous, vessel-wide view of all applicable certificates, rather than requiring the user to check each certificate individually.

Set to operate 24/7, the system is fully compliant with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) guidelines.

Use of the ABS e-Certificates is expected to reduce administrative burdens, cut on-board clutter, and simplify port State, flag State and third-party validation.

Adobe ES4 has provided the digital protection, unique tracking number and electronic signatures, as well as endorsements for the e-Certificates.

ABS verification website allows users to independently confirm the authenticity of verification. Users can have access to the latest certificates from anywhere in the world.

ABS chief digital officer Howard Fireman said: “ABS e-Certificates deliver significantly enhanced productivity for our clients by reducing processing time and document handling costs.

“As an organisation currently providing digital plan and calculation review, the move to electronic certificates is a natural next step.”

ABS has also revealed its plan to continue to use traditional paper certificates.