Classification societies were created to answer the information requests issued by insurers in order to determine the rate of insurance premiums for ships.
The main companies are grouped within the IACS (International Association of Classification Societies) whose chief mission is to promote safer standards and ensure the common application of its rules by all its members.
Classification societies perform several actions among which we find: classification, certification and registers publication. Classification involves the categorization of the ship according to certain criteria. Then the society assigns a class. Certification involves checking the compliance with national and international regulation. Ships or offshore structures which have lost their class or which are not certified will not be able to operate.
A paradox in the general system can be noted here: the classification society is chosen and paid by the shipowner who therefore becomes a client. Safeguards nevertheless exist: if a society refuses to certify a ship, it is highly unlikely that another will. The IACS plays a surveillance role in this regard.
Source: multiple Internet sources, specialized literature, testimonials (Pratic-Export, Pôle-emploi cards, Wikipedia, Onisep, CNRTL, Umep à la Page…)Published on: 07 May 2014