Monthly Archives: June 2017

Vessel Classification- A quick revision guide


Some Handy Revision Notes on Classification Societies and Ship Classification

It feels like time for another pause in this blog in the stream of vessel Certification posts,  so I will dip my toe into a topic that pervades into most areas of a vessel’s documentation, ‘Class’. 

What is a classification Society?

A classification Society is a an organisation that published rules for the design, CertLRconstruction of ships. Compliance with these rules is required for obtaining insurance, P&I cover, assisting in vessel sales and obtaining finance.

That is a Commercial service and not a statutory one.

Requirements of a Classification Society

  • To Publish its own classification Rules in relation to the design
    construction and survey of ships
  • To apply, maintain and update those Rules and Regulations
  • To Verify compliance with these Rules during construction and periodically during CertBVa classed ship’s life
  • To publishes a register of classed ships
  • Is not controlled by, and does not have interests in, ship-owners, shipbuilders or others engaged commercially in the manufacture, equipping, repair or operation of ships
  • Is authorised by a Flag Administration as defined in SOLAS Chapter XI-1, Regulation 1

Who are the Classification Societies?

More than 90% of the world’s cargo carrying tonnage is covered by the classification of the twelve Member Societies of IACS,  The International Association of Classification CERTIACSSocieties.

Click here for the IACS website>

Members of the IACS

There are many other organisations offering classification services that are not part of IACS but not all of these meet all the requirements listed earlier in this post.

Listing of all classification Societies on the UK P &I club website>

What is the purpose of  ship classification?

  • To verify the structural strength and integrity of essential parts of the ship’s hull and its appendages
  • To verify the reliability and function of the propulsion and steering systems, power generation and auxiliary systems

A certificate of class states that a vessel is in compliance with the Rules of the CertABSclassification society and does not act as a warranty of safety, fitness for purpose or seaworthiness of the ship.

What are the Statutory activities of Classification Societies?

Classification Societies have moved beyond commercial assurance activity to becoming CertPolandan integral part of many flag state’s compliance with international shipping legislation. Many surveys required by SOLAS or other international conventions are now conducted by classification societies. The authority for this contained within the first chapter of SOLAS.

(a) The inspection and survey of ships, so far as regards the enforcement of the provisions of the present regulations and the granting of exemptions therefrom, shall be carried out by officers of the Administration. The Administration may, however, entrust the inspections and surveys either to surveyors nominated for the purpose or to organizations recognized by it. SOLAS Chapter 1 Regulation 6

The UK’s procedures for this delegation is referred to as Alternative Compliance Scheme (ACS). See MGN 568> 

IMO Resolution A.739(18) lays down mandatory minimum requirements for Recognized organisations (ROs). Click here to view the Resolution on the sjofartsverket website.

Guidelines for the authorization of organisations acting on behalf of the administration,

A quick history of Ship Classification

Lloyds coffee house was opened by Edward Lloyd in 1686. The shop became popular with seafarers, shipowners and merchants, and Edward Lloyd provided them with shipping news.

In 1691 the coffee shop was moved to Lombard street and the where it was continued to be used as a venue to discuss marine insurance,

The insurers developed a system for the independent technical assessment of the ships presented to them for insurance cover. This system enabled non seafaring underwriters and judge the risk that the vessels posed.

In 1760, the Lloyds Register Society was formed by the customers of the coffee house, which was followed in 1764 by production of the the Lloyds ‘Register of Shipping’.

From 1829 onwards other Societies were founded around the world replicating the work of Lloyds

In 1968 IACS was formed to establish minimum technical standards and ensures their consistent application

After that brief introduction to vessel classification this blog will soon return with another certificate.  This journey through certification is soon to reach its destination.


Part 1 of a new series of Really Handy Study guides has just been launched

A revision guide covering vessel certification; more of the series are on the way.

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What is a Declaration of Security under the ISPS Code?


Navsregss>Ship Certification>International Ship Security Certificate>Deceleration of Security 

A Quick handy guide to the ISPS Declaration of Security

Following on from the last two posts on security related Certification is a quick look at an associated piece of documentation that may be held by a vessel.  

The Declaration of Security is a document that  may be required for a  port visit when specific security requirements exist. The Declaration address the security requirements that could be shared between a port facility and a ship, or between ships, and states the responsibility for each.

What determines if a Declaration of Security is required?

A Government shall determine when a Declaration of Security is required by assessing the risk the ship/port interface or ship to ship activity poses

A ship can request completion of a Declaration of Security when:

  • The ship is operating at a higher security level than the port facility or another ship
    it is interfacing with
  • There is an agreement on a Declaration of Security between Contracting Governments covering certain international voyages or specific ships on those
  • There has been a security threat or a security incident involving the ship or
    involving the port facility
  • The ship is at a port which is not required to have and implement an approved port
    facility security plan
  • The ship is conducting ship to ship activities with another ship not required to have and implement an approved ship security plan

Who completes the declaration of Security?

  • The master or the ship security officer on behalf of the ship(s); and, if appropriate,
  • The port facility security officer or, if the Contracting Government determines
    otherwise, by any other body responsible for shore-side security, on behalf of the
    port facility

What is contained on the Declaration of Security between a ship and a port facility?

Ship and port facilities

  • Name of Ship
  • Port of Registry
  • Certs Dec of secuityIMO Number
  • Name of Port Facility

Summary  of actives

  • Validity dates
  • List of activities covered
  • Security level(s) for the ship
  • Security level(s) for the port facility

Security measures  agreed between Ship and Port

  • Monitoring restricted areas to ensure that only authorized personnel have access
  • Controlling access to the port facility
  • Controlling access to the ship
  • Monitoring of the port facility including
  • berthing areas and areas surrounding the ship
  • Monitoring of the ship, including berthing areas and areas surrounding the ship
  • Handling of cargo
  • Delivery of ship’s stores
  • Handling unaccompanied baggage
  • Controlling the embarkation of persons and their effects
  • Ensuring that security communication is readily available between the ship and port facility

Two IMO publications on the ISPS code available from Amazon


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The ISPS Code- A Handy Summary


Navsregss>Ship Certification>International Ship Security Certificate>ISPS Code a Handy Summary

Following on from the last post on the International Ship Security Certificate, this post has a quick look at its associated code. 

The International Code for the Security of Ships and Port Facilities

Following terrorists attacks of  11th September 2001 the IMO agreed to the development of new measures relating to the security of ships and of port facilities; out of this agreement came the ISPS code

What makes the ISPS code mandatory?

SOLAS Chapter XI-2 , Special measures to Enhance Maritime Security

Regulation 4 Requirements for Companies and Ships

“2 Ships shall comply with the relevant requirements of this chapter and of part A of the ISPS Code, taking into account the guidance given in part B of the ISPS Code, and such compliance shall be verified and certified as provided for in part A of the ISPS Code…..”

This Code applies to the following ships on international voyages:

  • Passenger ships, including high-speed passenger craft;
  • Cargo ships, including high-speed craft, of 500 gross tonnage and upwards
  • Mobile offshore drilling units
  • Port facilities serving such ships engaged on international voyages

What does SOLAS Say about ship security and the Master’s discretion?

Regulation 8

“1 The master shall not be constrained by the Company, the charterer or any other person from taking or executing any decision which, in the professional judgement of the master, is necessary to maintain the safety and security of the ship. This includes denial of access to persons (except those identified as duly authorized by a Contracting Government) or their effects and refusal to load cargo, including containers or other closed cargo transport units.”

Contents of the ISPS code

This list of sections within the code give in an indication of the range of its requirements. The contents of sections 7, 8, 9,10, 12 and 14 are the most applicable to ships and require a Ship Security Assessment, Ship Security Plan and Ship Security officer to be in place.

  • 1 General
  • 2 Definitions
  • 3 Application
  • 4  Responsibilities of Contracting Governments
  • 5 Deceleration of Security
  • 6 Obligations of the Company
  • 7 Ship Security
  • 8 Ship Security Assessment
  • 9 Ship Security Plan
  • 10 Records
  • 11 Company Security Officer
  • 12 Ship Security Officer
  • 13 Training, Drills and exercises on Ship Security
  • 14 Port Facility Security
  • 15 Port Facility Security assessment
  • 16 Port Facility Security Plan
  • 17 Port Facility Security officer
  • 18  Training, Drills and exercises on Port Facility Security

What is covered by the ship Security Assessment (SSA) ?

  • Physical security
  • Structural integrity
  • Personnel protection systems
  • Procedural policies
  • Radio and telecommunication systems, including computer systems and networks
  • Other areas that may, if damaged or used for illicit observation, pose a risk to
    persons, property, or operations on board the ship or within a port facility

What is the Ship Security Plan (SSP)?

Ship security plan means a plan developed to ensure the application of measures on board the ship designed to protect persons on board, cargo, cargo transport units, ship’s stores or the ship from the risks of a security incident.” ISPS Code definitions

Contents of the plan

  • The organizational structure of security for the ship
  • The ship’s relationships with the Company, port facilities, other ships and relevant authorities with security responsibility
  • The communication systems to allow effective continuous communication
    within the ship and between the ship and others, including port facilities
  • The basic security measures for security level 1 that will always be in place
  • The additional security measures that will allow the ship to progress without
    delay to security level 2 and, when necessary, to security level 3
  • Procedures for regular review, or audit, of the SSP and for its amendment in response to experience or changing circumstances
  • The reporting procedures to the appropriate Contracting Governments contact points

What are the Security Levels?

These are set by Governments based on the security threat. Each threat level will have a corresponding series of security measures within the Ship and Port Security plans.

  • Security level 1 means the level for which minimum appropriate protective
    security measures shall be maintained at all times.
  • Security level 2 means the level for which appropriate additional protective
    security measures shall be maintained for a period of time as a result of
    heightened risk of a security incident.
  • Security level 3 means the level for which further specific protective security
    measures shall be maintained for a limited period of time when a security incident
    is probable or imminent, although it may not be possible to identify the specific

What nominated personal are required by ISPS?

The Company Security Officer (CSO) is responsible for ensuring that a Ship Security
Assessment (SSA) is carried out for each of the ships in the Company’s fleet.

Ship Security Officer (SSO) means the person on board the ship, accountable to the
master, designated by the Company as responsible for the security of the ship.

Port Facility Security Officer (PFSO)means the person designated as responsible for the development, implementation, revision and maintenance of the port facility
security plan and for liaison with the ship security officers and company security


Some Related Revision Guides

CertId1Cover wp-1448917864372.jpeg

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The International Ship Security Certificate- A handy guide

Navsregss>Ship Certification>International Ship Security CertificateDSC00373

This series of posts has to take a round turn now, to go back and explore an important certificate by-passed earlier on.  

The ISSC- Improving security

Why is it required?

  • The International code for the Security of Ships and of port facilities (ISPS code).
  • SOLAS chapter XI-2

Click here for the IMO ISPS web page>

What is contained on the Certificate?

  • Name of ship
  • Distinctive number or letters
  • Port of registry
  • Type of ship
  • Gross tonnage
  • Date of initial / renewal verification on which this certificate is basedISPS Cert format

What does it Certify?

  • That the security system and any associated security equipment of the ship has been verified in accordance with section 19.1 of part A of the ISPS Code
  • That the verification showed that the security system and any associated security
    equipment of the ship is in all respects satisfactory and that the ship complies with the applicable requirements of chapter XI-2 of SOLAS and part A of the ISPS Code
  • That the ship is provided with an approved Ship Security Plan

What are the survey requirements?



The certificate is subject to Verifications rather than surveys. These verifications are to ensure that the security system and any associated security equipment of the ship fully complies with the applicable requirements of the Code, is in satisfactory condition and fit for the service for which the ship is intended.

Verification types

Initial verification before the ship is put in service or before the certificate
is issued for the first time.

Renewal verification at intervals specified by the Administration, but not
exceeding five years.

At least one intermediate verification. If only one intermediate verification is
carried out it shall take place between the second and third anniversary date of the

A Definition

“Ship security plan means a plan developed to ensure the application of measures
on board the ship designed to protect persons on board, cargo, cargo transport
units, ship’s stores or the ship from the risks of a security incident.” ISPS code

Which vessels require an International Ship Security Certificate?

The following types of ships engaged on international voyages:

  • Passenger ships, including high-speed passenger craft
  • Cargo ships, including high-speed craft, of 500 gross tonnage and upwards
  • Mobile offshore drilling units;

Note the code also applies to port facilities serving such ships engaged on international voyages. Flag states and regional areas may extend this list to include additional types of vessels.

When does the Certificate become invalid?

  • If the relevant verifications are not completed within the specified periods
  • When a Company assumes the responsibility for the operation of a ship not previously operated by that Company
  • When the vessel is transferred to the flag of another State

Other associated Certificates

Interim International Ship Security Certificate

This is a temporary certificate issued for a period of no more than 6 months that allows a vessel to sail without its full International Ship Security Certificate.

When is it issued?

  • When a ship is without a certificate, on delivery or before its entry or re-entry into service
  • When a ship is transferring flags between Governments
  • When a a ship changes ownership

What must be verified before an Interim Certificate can be issued?

  • That the ship security assessment has been completed
  • That a  copy of the ship security plan meeting the requirements of the Code is provided on board, has been submitted for review and approval, and is being implemented on the ship
  • That he ship is provided with a ship security alert system if required,
  • That the company security officer has ensured:
    • The review of the ship security plan for compliance with the
      the Code
    • That the plan has been submitted for approval
    • That the plan is being implemented on the ship
    • That they have established the necessary arrangements, including
      drills, exercises and internal audits, through which the company security
      officer is satisfied that the ship will successfully complete the required
      verification within 6 months
    • Arrangements have been made for carrying out the required verifications
    • The master, the ship’s security officer and other personnel with security duties are familiar with their duties and responsibilities and within the ship security plan placed on board
    • These personnel  have been provided such information in the working language of the ship’s personnel or languages understood by them
  • The ship security officer meets the requirements of this Part of the Code

Declaration of Security

This is declaration completed by the vessel and a port for a specific period stating the security requirements and allocation of responsibilities. Such declarations are required only in certain circumstances, its detail will be covered in a later post.

Maritime Security Posts


Sources of Information

This Handy Revision guide has just been published for Kindle. The first in a new series of revision aids covering the topic of ship certification.

Click here to see on Amazon>

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