Bureau of Environmental Safety and Enforcement (BSEE) James A. Watson will resign from BSEE and join maritime classification society ABS Sept. 2 as president and chief operating officer of its Americas division.
Watson will replace Robert Gilman, who will move to the ABS Group of Companies as senior vice president of technical inspection services within the ABS affiliated company, Houston-based ABS reported Tuesday.
In his new role at ABS, Watson will oversee activity in North, South and Central America and the Caribbean. He will be based at the Division's headquarters in Houston.
Watson took up his duties as BSEE director in December 2011. During his time at BSEE, Watson has been responsible for promoting safety, protecting the environment and conserving resources through regulatory oversight and enforcement of offshore operations on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.
"Director Watson has served with distinction and has helped implement the most aggressive and comprehensive offshore oil and gas regulatory reforms in the nation's history," said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell in a July 9 statement. "His commitment to safety at all levels and at all times will have deep and meaningful benefits for the men and women of America's offshore industry who continue to help fuel our domestic energy future."
Prior to joining BSEE, Watson served as the U.S. Coast Guard's Director of Prevention Policy for Marine Safety, Security and Stewardship. His duties included commercial vessel safety and security, ports and cargo safety and security and maritime investigations.
"The Coast Guard, BSEE and ABS have similar missions of promoting safety and protecting the environment, so Jim's background makes him uniquely qualified for this position working alongside both the marine and offshore industries," said ABS Chairman and CEO Christopher J. Wiernicki in a press release. "Jim's understanding of the critical safety issues the offshore sector is facing today will enable ABS to enhance the level of service we are able to provide to government and industry."
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