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Degree tribute for shipping safety regulator

Former Chairman of ABS Robert Somerville honoured for lifetime contribution to maritime safety

Robert Somerville, the former chairman of the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), has been awarded an honorary degree by Cass and City University London. 

Somerville received the doctorate for his "outstanding contribution to maritime safety" in a ceremony at London's Barbican Centre.

The American Bureau of Shipping is a marine and offshore classification society which overseas day-to-day safety issues in the shipping industry. 

In a 43-year career at ABS, which included 20 years as either President or Chairman, Somerville championed improvements in international standards of ship design, construction and inspection. 

He was instrumental in forcing through much-needed common structural rules for tankers and bulk carriers. The breakthrough was hailed as the sector's single greatest advance in safety standards.

Accepting the degree, Somerville said: "I am truly humbled by the honour the university has bestowed on me."

Professor Costas Grammenos, Director of Cass Business School's Centre for Shipping, Trade and Finance, said: "Bob is a true leader who has been at the forefront of promoting safety and environmental improvements, as well as maritime education, across the global shipping industry."

Professor Paul Curran, Vice-Chancellor of City University London, added: "Bob has made a lifetime contribution to enhancing safety in the maritime industry. We are proud to award him an honorary degree in recognition of his distinguished achievements."

Somerville stepped down as ABS chairman in April, marking the longest ever period of unbroken leadership in the organisation's 151-year history.

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