Looking beyond traditional roles
The Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass) is growing from strength to strength in its reputation as a quality classification society amongst leading global flag administrations, which is reflected in its significant increase in tonnage in recent years. Mr Arun Sharma, Executive Chairman, IRClass spotlighted various changes adopted by the society.What are the unprecedented challenges IRClass have undergone due to the pandemic?
IRClass took a pragmatic and practical approach in maintaining its services to its clients during this period of unprecedented global restriction in population movement to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
We quickly adapted to the ever-changing circumstances to minimise the impact on our customers, while ensuring the health and safety of our staff. Our approach also provided specific guidelines to our surveyors to follow precautions and country specific advisories when planning surveys.
Depending on the specific circumstances, IRClass granted survey extensions as allowed by its rules and IMO requirements for granting force majeure extensions for vessels scheduled to drydock for repairs or renewal surveys in affected areas.
Wherever possible and with flag approval, IRClass effectively used remote surveys to ensure that its services remained unhindered to customers.As Chairman of IACS, what major steps have you taken for IACS to maintain a steady course during these difficult recent months?
As Chairman of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), I had to lead the organisation’s rapid response to assist the industry during the lockdown period. The first wave of mitigative measures, which included maintaining the validity of certificates and allowing the sharing of IACS members’ exclusive surveyors, were quickly implemented to allow ships to continue operations and hence, facilitate the trade.
During the 12 months of my tenure, there were significant advances by IACS across a range of topics including the establishment of a data-driven policy, strengthening IACS’ approach to Quality to maintain and enhance quality operations and further progress with IQARB, a consolidated IACS Recommendation on Cyber Resilience and the establishment of an Expert Group on MASS.
I am most proud, however, of IACS support to industry and IMO during the pandemic by adopting a flexible and pragmatic approach that nevertheless remains true to the safety and environmental objectives of the classification and statutory regimes.Is the role of Classification Societies changing? Please enlighten us?
Classification societies are looking beyond their traditional roles as regulators and exploring ways in which they can leverage their technical expertise towards assisting the industry’s need for compliance. The maritime sector is rapidly changing due to technological advancements and tightening regulations on environmental protection and safety, and it is incumbent upon classification societies to support these changes.
Class societies are increasingly seen not just as regulators but as enablers who assist the industry in implementing regulation through their technical expertise. Class societies have an important responsibility to ensure that new equipment and technology are tested, approved, validated and implemented in an effective and timely manner to comply with the regulatory changes.What progress has IACS made on global classification of ships?
IACS is the principal technical advisor to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). It continues to support the IMO’s work on the regulation of emerging technologies such as digitalisation and automation while helping to adapt or remove impediments that hinder technical advances.
Its members work tirelessly to ensure IACS remains a badge of quality which continues to be respected in the maritime industry.
IACS works closely with the industry towards validation of the technologies to ensure that any regulation can be applied globally and consistently. IACS plays a unique role in contribution to maritime safety and regulation through technical support, compliance verification and research and development.
The strength of IACS’s technical expertise is evident in the fact that IACS members collectively class more than 90% of the global classed fleet.IMS