New Maritime Regulations from a Class Perspective

On September 7, Chairman of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), Tor E. Svensen, spoke to the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) on the subject of “Regulatory Developments Now and in the Future -- A Class Perspective.” SSA’s invitation to the event, dated August 14, summarizes Svensen’s presentation: “Although safety and quality will remain priorities for Class, expanded focus on environmental matters and the human element will also have the effect of changing the role and scope of Class.”

His speech touched upon the background of classification societies, including the specific role of IACS, the role of classification societies in general, and how they cooperate with industry. Svensen also discussed selected IACS activities and achievements, which included the “significant decrease in losses and casualties” that he attributed to a “combined effort,” “targeted measures,” and a “systematic risk assessment.” Additionally, he discussed the development of the Common Structural Rules for Oil Tankers and Bulk Carriers that “harmonise scantling requirements” by the “utillisation of combined experience from all classification societies.”

Subsequently, Svensen focused on future issues and the future of class in general in his speech to the SSA. He stated that IACS will have to focus on the environment, including air emissions, discharges to sea, and hazardous materials. His presentation also mentioned the European Union (EU) Borg Paper that he described as a “proposal for a new holistic maritime policy for the European Union,” the consequences of which are “currently unknown” because the EU commission is still assessing it. However, Svensen made sure to note that IACS has already established a group to “keep an active eye” on any developments from the commission on the paper. The chairman also stated that IACS must strengthen the role of class by being “more active technical advisors to IMO,” “being more active and efficient in how [it] deal[s] with decision makers in [the] EU,” and “being trustworthy and independent in everything [it] do[es].”

Svensen concluded his presentation by addressing the “way forward” for classification societies. He said that they must “adapt to changing boundary conditions for reasons of efficiency” and “work to avoid fragmented regulations.” According to Svensen, “Classification societies will continue to be a trustworthy contributor to safety and environmental protection at sea by using our: combined and wide competence, experience to deliver quality, [and] consistent services to the maritime community.”

Chairman Tor E. Svensen’s presentation can be found here.