This page is the overview and shows the interaction between all maritime organizations like e.g. the flag states and class societies. All of these organization has their own inspectors. In the end a small page is about vetting and insurance. Oh, and if your browser was not up to date, then later on this page a separate video is presented with the same subject.
History of Maritime Regulations
Although regulations exist as long as people want to influence other people. The class started in 1760 with LR and the death of passengers of the Titanic spawned the first SOLAS convention in 1914. Disasters with tankers spawned the MARPOL conventions around 1973. The IMO started in 1948, but most of the regulations / conventions were held after the first MARPOL.
Despite all conventions and regulations, unfortunately disasters still happens too often
How countries are official named
- The home country of a ship, called flag state. Further is the flag state also referred to as Administration. The flag state has their national law system on a ship and these regulations has to be followed by the master, crew, owner,managers and inspectors.
- The country is called member when we are talking about the IMO.
- The country can be also be named as port state when a ship enters an international port in this country. Then this port belongs to port state control officers.
The IMO (International Maritime Organization) plays an spider role in the International Maritime Regulations and Maritime Law.
The IMO main tasks are to organize conventions and looks after the ratification by her members.
Another task of the IMO is to publish the conventions. Conventions uses measurements like length or gross tonnage of a ship. The type of a ship. Conventions even determine inspection intervals of the vessel for that convention.
The International Labour Organization, the ILO, is a different International Organization. The Maritime Labour Convention MLC is by origin from the ILO but organized by the IMO.
Class Societies started in 1760 and are nowadays mandatory by the SOLAS. There are 50 different societies and only 12 are forming the IACS, the International Association of Class Societies. The IACS publish their common rules but also their common interpretations of the different regulations.
A class societies has their own set of rules about construction, maintenance and inspections. A class surveyor can perform surveys for the class and when authorized: inspections and audits for the flag.
Maritime Regulations from Who?
- The conventions via IMO like SOLAS, MARPOL and Loadline are the minimum standard on a ship.
- The first who will add regulations are the the Regions like EU. The EU have regulations like the wheel mark.
- On top of this, the flag will add regulations for example: extra life suits.
- The class Society will add next to their technical rules also regulations about CO2 bottles, fire extinguishers etcetera.
- Also the owner and ship management will have some requirements, about operation, maintenance, ISM, ISPS, MLC.
Maritime Inspections by Whom?
The Region and Flag State mainly have auditors but some flag states still have some inspectors. Often the class surveyor act as inspector next to his task as surveyor.
The surveyor can also have an accreditation as ISM, ISPS auditor and/or as a MLC inspector. Those auditors can also be directly from the flag state.
MLC inspectors can be from flag, but probably they are from a class society. Like for ISM and ISPS is the ships management also for the MLC free in her choice of class society. Meaning that a ship can in principle be visited by 4 different societies.
Last are the vetting inspectors for tankers and underwriters inspectors.
Port State: for what reason
The port state is the quality control of the IMO and will check ‘randomly’ ships. The port state officer will inspect according the main principles of the conventions. The port state has the power to stop a ship.
Underwriters and Vetting.
An insurance has in most cases different underwriters to cover the high amount of invested money. Every ship have different insurances like damage to hull and equipment, damage to cargo and insurance for oil spills.
Last but not least the vetting. Vetting is invented by oil companies as a quality tool for the chartered ships and crew.