The Classification concept comprises the development of independent technical standards for ships, and the verification of compliance with these standards throughout the ship's life. Classification by International Register of Shipping (IRS) has achieved wide acceptance world over by ship owners, flag states, P&I clubs, underwriters, etc. The reasons for the unrivaled growth that has been achieved by IRS could be seen in our understanding of real life situations and the uncompromising approach to maritime safety and environment protection.
The rules are aimed at ensuring safety against hazards to the ship, personnel, passengers and cargo, and against hazards to the environment as a consequence of sea transport. The Rules and Regulations for Classification of International Register of Shipping are a result of vast technical expertise of the society and are perfected through a rigorous process of approval by multi-level committees comprising experts from various technical fields as well as various shipping interests such as flag states, port states, ship owners / operators, underwriters, P&I Clubs and ancillary Industries. The rule-making process in IRS also makes use of various risk assessment methodologies such as FSA, FMEA, HAZOP, etc. depending on the severity of the consequences. The R&D activities of the society, experience feed back from the field and state-of-the-art technology also contribute to the rule making process. Comprehensive controls applied in the rule making process ensure that Class Rules of International Register of Shipping is up-to-date with respect to technology and unbiased with respect to its contents.
The classification process for the vessels comprises:
- Appraisal of the design during and after construction
- Surveys at the time of construction, entry in to class and modifications to ensure that the vessel meets the criteria stipulated by the rules.
- Issuance of a ‘Certificate of Classification’ and entering of the vessel’s particulars in to the society’s Register of Ships
- Periodical surveys as stipulated by the rules to ensure continued maintenance of conditions of classifications.
- Additional surveys as deemed necessary in view of damages, reported poor condition of the vessel by port state control authorities, etc.
Class rules require that the raw materials used in building and repairing of ships as well as various essential machinery and components installed on the vessel are approved by the society. IRS also provides services towards approving various components as above to facilitate compliance with the above requirement. Certain types of marine components can be type approved.
Various sub-contracted services used for performance of periodical surveys such as thickness gauging, underwater diving, NDT, etc. are to be obtained from vendors approved by IRS.
The online database system developed by IRS supports its vigilance in ensuring that all the vessels classified by IRS are continuously monitored and timely notices are provided for the owners to ensure that surveys are done in time, assisting them in continuous maintenance of classification. Database system also supports IRS in its independent research projects by being able to translate the field experience in to useful statistical data.
Its technical competence, dedication as well as customer friendly approach makes International Register of Shipping undoubtedly the classification society for the new millennium.