What is Classification Society?
A classification society is an organisation that helps maintains technical standards for the construction of vessel and its operation. Classification society also certify that the construction of a vessel is in accordance with relevant standards, regulations and also carry out surveys to ensure that vessel is in always compliance with the required minimum standards. At Present there are more than 50 classification society world wide.
Why Classification Society is necessary?
As per SOLAS Chapter II, Regulation 3-1, a vessel need to be classed.
“Ships shall be designed, constructed and maintained in compliance with the Structural, Mechanical and Electrical requirements of a classification society which is recognised by the Administration”
It was for the underwriters that the classification society was 1st created because the underwriters required guidance on assessment of maritime risks. So insurer would only cover a ship provided it is built and maintained to class requirements and standards.
To demonstrate that a ship was classed with a society, their mark was put on the ship side which eventually combined with the load line requirement for freeboard.
The Insurance policy in most cases will stand void if the vessel goes out of Class.
Classification society is a big helping hand for the Administration, because of its impartial role and total dedication to standardisation. The administration finds it convenient to entrust the classification society.
The biggest advantage to administration is that vessel can be inspected and surveyed almost anywhere through the global network of the society. By saying that the administration is always legally and morally responsible for its obligation in respect to survey and certification under various convention.
The rules and regulations developed by the society are sometime regarded as asset to some of developing countries who may not have the resources and expertise to develop such elaborate rules and regulations on their own.
The Class is obliged to submit there survey status and other information to the admin.
Trader, Charterer, Brokers etc.
It is easy for them to find all particular of ship from classification register. A class record even shows major accident or damage including any outstanding condition of class. The buyer, charter acts with confidence and knowledge.
Following are commercial advantages if a vessel is classed:
- Ship likely to be Sea Worthy
- Charters are easier to obtain
- Owner build good reputation in industry
- Insurance premium is lower.
Role of Classification Society
They set standards of vessel concerning and verifying
- Structural Strength of all essential parts
- All Machinery (e.g. OWS, ODMCS etc.)
- Material of Construction
- Rules for special types of vessel.
- Rules for ship equipment.
They carry out research and development in ship structure, engineering, design and other safety aspect. They also act as Recognised organisation and carry out statutory surveys and certification.