Classification societies play a cru­cial role in the making of a strong maritime nation. In the 1970s, when India’s international trade gathered speed the country’s merchant fleet too had expanded substantially. In an ambitious move to promote the country’s maritime interests, the gov­ernment of India constituted a Steer­ing Committee (known as Mudaliar Committee) whose recommenda­tion for formation of an Indian clas­sification society was accepted by the government in 1974. Thus, in March 1975, Indian Register of Shipping (ms) was established as a public lim­ited company under Section 25 of the Indian Companies Act, 1956 with no share capital, no shareholders and dis­tributing no dividends, it sought to provide faithful and accurate classifi­cation and record of mercantile ship­ping classed with IRS – also known as ir Class. Its responsibilities include establishing standards and formu­lating rules for the construction and maintenance of ships, amphibious installation, marine equipment and industrial and general engineering equipment.

Within a short span of its incep­tion, IRS has proved its mettle as an international ship classification soci­ety and is in many ways on a par with leading ship classification soci­eties of the world, which have been in existence for over a hundred years. Armed with highly skilled and motivated technical personnel, which continue to be its main source of strength, and an enviable safety record, IRS enjoys the confidence of the entire marine fraternity – ship owners, ship builders, underwrit­ers, government, industries allied to

Risk business!


In the second half of the 18th cen­tury, London merchants, ship-own­ers, and captains often gathered at Edward Lloyds’ coffee house to gossip and make deals including sharing the risks and rewards of individual voyages. This became known as underwriting after the practice of signing one’s name at the bottom of a document pledging to make good a portion of the losses if the ship didn’t make it in return for a portion of the profits. The underwriters needed a way of assessing the quality of the ships that they were being asked to insure. In 1760, the Register Society was formed – the first classification society and the one which would subsequently

shipping, et al.

Today, JRClass is an established Classification Society and a full member of the International Asso­ciation of Classification Societies (IACS). Its services currently extend to quality certification, industrial inspection, consultancy and training services along with its core marine classification.

Smooth sailing In a recent event commemorating the successful com­pletion of 40 years, Sriramamurthy, chief operating officer, highlighted the journey of JRClass from its humble beginnings. He narrated the changes JRClass has gone through and men­tioned about its ‘Beyond Class’ ser­vices under the newly formed entity IRClass Systems & Solutions Pvt Ltd. Arun Sharma, chairman and manag­ing director, reiterated iRClass’s com­mitment to be ‘A Class by Choice’,

become Lloyd’s Register – to publish an annual register of ships.

This publication tried to classify the condition of the ship’s hull and equip­ment. At that time, an attempt was made to classify the condition of each ship on an annual basis. The condition of the hull was classified A, E, I, o or u, according to the state of its construction and its adjudged continuing soundness (or lack of it). Equipment was c, B, or B: simply, good, middling or bad. Later on, c, M and B were replaced by 1, 2 and 3, which is the origin of the well-known expression ‘Al’, meaning ‘first or highest class’. The purpose of this system was not to assess safety, fitness for purpose or seaworthiness of the ship. It was to evaluate risk.

while thanking all the stakeholders for their support. The event show­cased ‘The Journey of Four Pecades of IRClass’ through a presentation that underscored the major nationa. and international contributions made by IRClass including those to offshore, port and naval sectors by way of rules & regulations, research and training.

Over the years the classification profession has evolved, and the prac­tice of assigning different classifi­cations has been superseded, with some exceptions. Today a ship either meets the relevant class society’s rules or it does not. As a consequence it is either ‘in’ or ‘out’ of ‘class’. Clas­sification societies do not issue state­ments or certifications that a vessel is ‘fit to sail’ or ‘unfit to sail’; the} merely say that the vessel is in com­pliance with the required codes. This is in part related to legal liability of the classification society.

Earlier Indian ships had to be clas­sified by foreign societies. There are a number of classification societ­ies, the largest of which are Lloyds,; Bureau Veritas, the American Bureau of Shipping and Det Norske Veritas Classification societies employ shi? surveyors, material engineers, piping engineers, mechanical engineers chemical engineers and electrical engineers, often located at ports andf office buildings around the world. • feedbackSbusmessmdifigFflup-cssJ


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