Entity for the Quality Assessment and Certification of Organisations Recognised by the European Union CIC


The Board

The QACE Board comprises of industry experts from the major marine interest groups, ship builders, owners and flag Administrations, but also different geographic regions. The Board members have no current affiliation with the Recognised Organisations.

Ashok Mahapatra

Board Member Since 2019, Chairman Since 2021

Ashok joined QACE in January 2019, bringing a lot of experience to the Organisation. He began his career as a cadet working up to the level of being a Master on foreign going ships in the Merchant Navy. This followed with many years as a Surveyor with the Indian Maritime Administration. Ashok has also been the Deputy Nautical Adviser to the Government of India. Thereafter, he has worked at the IMO in the Maritime Safety Division from 1998 to 2017. He was the Director of the Maritime Safety Division of IMO from 2015 to 2017.

Dr Nikos Mikelis

Board Member Since 2018

Nikos has worked in ship classification; and then for a shipping company as superintendent, technical manager and director. He joined the International Maritime Organization in 2006, where he was the Head of Marine Pollution Prevention and Ship Recycling section.

Nikos has served in senior positions in various shipping industry bodies, has written over 50 papers, numerous articles in the maritime press and is a freeman of the City of London.

Niels-Bjørn Mortensen​

Board Member Since 2019

Niels-Bjørn joined QACE in January 2019, his career having covered many aspects of the marine industry at sea and on land. After his sea time for East Asiatic Company as deck officer, he qualified as naval architect which took him to head the Burmeister & Wain Shipyard design office at a time when large numbers of tankers, OBOs and bulk carriers were designed and built at the yard. Worked for BIMCO as a technical consultant and then as Head of the Marine Department. Niels-Bjørn has had various roles from Vice Chairman of the IACS Advisory Committee (QSCS), member of the Korean Register European Committee and Lloyd’s Register’s Technical Committee. In 2010 he became Director of Regulatory Affairs in Maersk Maritime Technology and chaired the Technical Committee of the Danish Shipowners’ Association from 2013 to 2016.

The Secretariat

The Board has appointed an Executive Secretary to manage the assessment and certification of the Recognised Organisations; a Company Secretary to oversee QACE’s corporate operations; and an Administration Manager.

Anantha Padmanabhan

Executive Secretary

Ananth joined QACE on 15 June 2020. He has a wealth of experience in all aspects of Ship Classification Societies and Statutory services of Recognised Organisations (RO), having worked for three different Class Societies in his past career. He has been involved with Quality Management for the past 22 years in various roles and capacities. He has represented all of the three Class Societies in the Quality Committee of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) for 15 years, and he was its Vice-Chairman for 3 years. He was the GL Representative in the RO Group that established QACE. In the last year immediately prior to joining QACE, he has worked as an auditor for three different Accredited Certification Bodies now engaged in the certification of the Class Societies/ROs.

Dr Nikos Mikelis

Company Secretary

Nikos has been a Board Member since 2018 and became the Company Secretary from 15 June 2020. He remains on the QACE Board.

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Matina Biniakou

Administration Manager

Matina joined QACE in September 2021. She has extensive experience in different business areas as well as a Bachelor degree in Maritime Business and an ongoing Master Degree in Financial Trading. She is responsible for QACE’s smooth day to day administrative and operational activities.

QACE Assessors

QACE contracts Assessors to execute the assessment programme. The Assessors are experienced maritime professionals drawn from different geographic regions.

Tim Ho

QACE Assessor

Tim joined QACE in 2015. He has extensive experience with the IACS QSCS scheme and with Statutory and Classification survey, Management System audit, and advisory services. Tim has devoted most of his time in training activities, lecturing at University, practical training for Flag Surveyors and PSCOs, and seafarers’ training based on the STCW Convention and IMO model courses.

Gur Sarup

QACE Assessor

Gur (Sarup) joined QACE in 2011 after serving fifteen years with IACS as an Audit Manager. He has extensive experience with Class having served the Indian Register of Shipping for seventeen years in various capacities, including responsible for Classification & Statutory services. A marine engineer by profession he sailed as a Chief Engineer. Sarup is a Fellow of the Institute of Marine Engineers (India).

Mike Jennings

QACE Assessor

Mike has joined QACE in 2015 after over six years with IACS as an Audit Manger, auditing and observing member classification societies for QSCS requirements. He spent seven years with an IACS class society as a Senior Surveyor, Lead Auditor and Country Manager also carrying out ISO audits for an Accredited Certification Body. Mike spent ten years in ship management from Superintendent, to Technical Manager, to Fleet Manager running UK operation of oil, product and chemical tankers, including a fleet renewal programme. Mike had fifteen years at sea from cadet up to Chief Engineer, sailing on dry cargo, tankers and container ships.

Alvin Shepherd

QACE Assessor

Al joined the QACE team in 2017 upon retiring from the American Bureau of Shipping as Corporate Manager of Management Systems Certification and Principal Surveyor. Responsibilities include training new and experienced auditors to ISM, ISPS and MLC requirements. Previous experience includes twenty years as a U.S. Coast Guard Flag State Marine Inspector, Investigator and Marine Engineer. Al also audits for an ISO Certification Body for various ISO Standards.

Captain Hartmut Nickel

QACE Assessor

Hartmut joined the QACE team in 2014 from the German flag State Administration. Hartmut has long and varied experience most recently as a German flag state surveyor, senior Port State control officer, ISM / ISO 9000 lead auditor and MLC inspector to the German Ship Safety Department. He has been involved with RO oversight for the Administration.

Abhay Shah

QACE Assessor

Abhay joined the QACE team in January 2020 following 20 years with Lloyd’s Register where he held senior governance, assurance and improvement positions at both a global and regional level. Abhay has a background in technical performance highlights include responsibility for a transformation programme that helped improve ship maintenance and awareness of common deficiencies, through pre-arrival checklist booklets, now widely used by the marine industry. He was heavily involved with internal and external audit and was responsible for introducing both risk-based and remote ISO audit methods.

Ganapathy Varadharaj

QACE Assessor

Ganapathy Varadharaj (Raj)  joined QACE in 2021 with forty years of service in the shipping industry in a variety of roles. He has extensive experience with Lloyds Register, including responsibility for Classification & Statutory services and having been a member of the Classification Executive. He has experience of commercial and technical operations of ships, legal aspects and new building projects with the National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (now Bahri) and Gearbulk of Norway. At the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), he was associated with developing maritime regulations and assisting countries with Port and Shipping development. A marine engineer by profession, he sailed as a Chief Engineer. Raj is a Fellow of the Institute of Marine Engineers (UK) and a Chartered Engineer.

Accredited Certification Bodies

QACE, as part of its certification process, utilises the services of the following Accredited Certification Bodies (ACB) to audit the quality management systems of the Recognised Organisations: