Classification Society

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Classification Society


a body exercising technical supervision over shipbuilding and navigation.

A classification society establishes technical and safety standards to ensure the seaworthiness of civilian vessels and to guarantee the reliability of freight shipment and the protection of human lives. It examines the blueprints and other technical documentation of ships and of ship equipment and building materials; oversees shipbuilding and the manufacture and operation of a ship’s equipment; sets tonnage requirements and classifies vessels, assigning ships to or removing them from a category; studies accidents at sea; keeps accounts of ships that are under surveillance; and cooperates with foreign classification societies. The assignment of a ship to a certain category, which is confirmed by a certificate, is a guarantee of the technical safety of the ship. The certification ensures more favorable insurance terms for the ship and its cargo, as well as other privileges to the shipowner.

The first classification society (England, 1760) was founded by Lloyd’s, the ship insurance agency, and is called Lloyd’s Register of Shipping. Classification societies have been established in France (Bureau Veritas, 1828), Italy (Registro Italiano Navale, 1861), the USA (American Bureau of Shipping, 1862), Norway (Norske Veritas, 1864), the Federal Republic of Germany (Germanischer Lloyd, 1867), and Japan (Nippon Kaiji Kyokai, 1899). Societies also exist in the People’s Republic of Poland (Polish Shipping Registry), the German Democratic Republic (German Shipping Inspection and Classification Organization), the People’s Republic of Bulgaria (Bulgarian Shipping Registry), the People’s Republic of China (the Shipping Registry of the People’s Republic of China), the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (Czechoslovak Shipping Registry), and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Jugoregistr). In Russia, a classification society was founded in 1899; in 1913 it was named the Russian Registry. The USSR has two classification societies: the Registry of the Soviet Union (for sea vessels) and the River Registry of the RSFSR (for river craft).


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The list shows the Classification Society responsible for classing the ship only.
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