I don’t think ship operators call it charity

American Bureau of Shipping

I ran across an interesting article from Bloomberg the other day; it’s subject is the tax status of the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), among others. ABS is the Houston based ship classifications society. Some may not realize but ABS, and Lloyd’s Register, are actually “charities”. I would imagine the other classifications societies are as well, in their “home country”.

I’ll admit its the strangest “charity” I have ever dealt with, especially now, with most classifications societies branching far out of the traditional shipping sector. They also look more and more like for profit corporations, to me anyways. I am not sure what angle the article is taking, but it is an interesting look at a very powerful entity, involved in our daily lives.

MT Prestige, charitably classed by ABS,
Photo from internet

Since 1862, an obscure company called American Bureau of Shipping has been approving oceangoing vessels as seaworthy. The Houston-based firm reported $3.17 billion in revenue and just less than $600 million in profits from ship inspections from 2004 to 2010 and paid no U.S. income taxes on those earnings. 

You can ready the entire article here.  

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