In light of the illegitimate decision adopted by the IACS* Council on March 11, 2022, contrary to the IACS Charter, to withdraw Russian Maritime Register of Shipping’s membership of the Association, RS advises the shipowners, operators, masters of ships and their crews as well as other interested organizations and persons as follows.
1. IACS is a non-governmental, not for profit membership organization uniting the leading classification societies to arrange joint work aimed at ensuring safety of navigation and environmental protection at sea. Taking the advantage of the professional knowledge and expertise of the member classification societies, the Association develops, establishes and enhances minimum technical standards (requirements) regarding design, construction, operation and survey of ships. The accurate and comprehensive fulfillment of these standards is ensured by the responsibility of IACS Members or other classification societies to apply these standards by means of their implementation in the Rules published by a classification society and to meet these requirements in their activity. The fulfillment of this responsibility is assured by the compliance of the classification society with the IACS Quality System Certification Scheme (IACS QSCS) that is endorsed by independent auditors on a regular basis.
2. Classification societies, whether they are part of IACS or not, are concerned primarily with the classification of ships. The objective of ship classification is to verify the structural strength and integrity of essential parts of the ship’s hull and its appendages and the reliability and function of propulsion and steering systems, power generation and those other features and auxiliary systems in order to maintain essential services on board. Classification societies aim to achieve this objective through the development and application of their own Rules during ship design and construction and then during periodical endorsement of ship’s compliance at survey in service. If a ship is assigned with a class of the classification society, it means that this ship complies with the requirements of the Rules of this classification society.
3. Independently of being IACS member, classification societies have the right to act and indeed act as Recognized Organizations (RO), i.e. organizations authorized for performing ship surveys for compliance with the requirements of international conventions and agreements, as well as issuing respective international certificates on behalf of the Flag State Maritime Administrations (MA).
Authorization of a classification society as a Recognized Organization is an exclusive right of the Flag State MA, as specified, in particular, in SOLAS regulation I-6, as amended, as well as similar provisions of MARPOL 73/78, International Convention on Load Lines, 1966/88, etc.
In accordance with the regulations of the conventions, certificates issued by the Recognized Organization have the same validity as those issued directly by the Flag State MA.
In accordance with SOLAS regulation XI-1/1, Recognized Organizations, when authorized, shall comply with the requirements and standards of the Code for Recognized Organizations (RO Code), as adopted by IMO resolutions MEPC.237(65) and MSC.349(92)).
Furthermore, in accordance with the IMO Instruments Implementation Code (III Code), as adopted by IMO resolution A.1070(28)), a Flag State authorizing a Recognized Organization to act on its behalf should determine that the recognized organization complies with the above provisions.
4. At present, there are around 150 classification societies worldwide with varying ranges of services rendered and number of ships in class. The overall majority of them are not the IACS-members societies, but are recognized by Flag State MA.
Provisions of international conventions and IMO resolutions pertaining to ship surveys, certificate issuance, as well as port state control specify no privileges for ships certified by classification societies being parts of any unions or associations, nor do they contain any ground for discrimination of ships certified by other classification societies.
Assignment of any class to a ship has no influence on the duration and results of the port state control, those being directly dependent on the technical condition of the ship and indirectly on whether the ship (depending on its flag) is black- or greylisted by different port state control regimes (Paris, Black Sea, Mediterranean and other MoUs).
5. Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) has remained one of the leading classification societies with its normative and technical base meeting the highest international standards. RS has implemented and maintains the quality management system compliant to IACS QSCS requirements that is regularly confirmed by periodical audits of various Flag State MA, independent certification entities as well as by RS over 50 years long IACS membership.
RS is recognized by the Maritime Administrations of 68 flag states, has a network of over 50 offices worldwide and sufficient number of highly qualified surveyors thus allowing to provide classification and survey services rendered promptly and safely almost in any region.
6. RS declares that the IACS Council decision as of March 11, 2022 affects in no way either the class status of the RS-classed ships, or validity or terms of the certificates issued by RS in compliance with the authorizations granted by Maritime Administrations. Should any special instructions by MA be given due to the current situation, RS will notify the parties involved in a timely manner.
7. RS fulfills all obligations to customers as normal and continues to render services aimed at the improvement of standards of safety of life at sea, safety of navigation, safe carriage of goods by sea and in inland waters as well as at environmental pollution prevention.
*IACS, International Association of Classification Societies, www.iacs.org.uk
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