Ship inspection can be divided into two different parts: 1) the inspection on behalf of the flag state, and 2) the inspection on behalf of the port state (port state control). Usually the flag state delegate the inspection to a recognized organization (RO) – a classification society, of which there are a number in the world. They are private bodies carrying out surveys and issuing or endorsing statutory certificates on behalf of the flag state.


International Association of Classification Societies


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 The International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) is an umbrella organization of ten classification socities. It was founded on September 11, 1968. It headquarters are in London, UK.


IACS Activity

Its main area of interest is technical support, compliance verification and research and development within the field of maritime safety and regulation.

The classification societies cover more than 90% of the world’s fleet, concerning design, construction and compliance with rules and standards through-out the ship’s life. Maritime health is an integral part of those issues addressed by IACS, such as designing of medical facilities on board, medical communications and MEDEVAC29arrangements. Compliance with the regulations of Maritime Labour Convention probably will be a new field for certification from the classification societies in the future, as they probably will deal with the flag state control for different shipping nations.

IACS is a non-governmental organisation that is authorised to develop guidance for the International Maritime Organization(IMO). In other words, the IACS was given consultative status with IMO, and remains the only non-governmental organisation with consultative status that is able to develop and apply rules. The requirements for these rules are written into the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).


IACS Member Societies

The members of IACS are:

  1. ABS American Bureau of Shipping
  2. BV Bureau Veritas
  3. CCS China Classification Society
  4. DNV Det Norske Veritas
  5. GL Germanischer Lloyd

10.  KR Korean Register of Shipping

11.  LR Lloyd's Register

12.  NK Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK)

13.  RINA Registro Italiano Navale

14.  RS Russian Maritime Register of Shipping

15.  IRS Indian Register of Shipping is currently an Associate but this status will expire.