Bangalore: India’s maritime regulator, the Directorate General of Shipping, has modified its decision to bar six global ship survey entities from operating in the country from 1 August. The regulator said India’s government-run classification society, the Indian Register of Shipping, or IRS, will undertake statutory surveys on ships that are registered in India when such an activity has to be undertaken in Indian and Sri Lankan ports.
However, if IRS can’t take up a job, it can take the help of the six full-time members of the International Association of Classification Societies, or IACS, the main global body of classification societies.
“We sent letters to these entities earlier this week informing them that the May decision has been modified,” said Ajoy Chatterjee, chief surveyor with the government of India and an additional director general of shipping at the maritime regulator.
Statutory survey is a global practice to ensure that ships are maintained as per the requirements of the International Maritime Organization, or IMO, the global maritime regulator.
Classification societies are authorized to act on behalf of various maritime administrations such as India to monitor the sea- and cargo- worthiness of vessels. Ships not classed or certified by any of the classification societies are not allowed to take to the sea.
The six IACS members recognized by the Indian government will look after the statutory surveys on Indian registered ships when such an activity has to be done at ports other than India and Sri Lanka, said a Union shipping ministry official. He did not want to be named.
The six entities are the American Bureau of Shipping, Bureau Veritas, Det Norske Veritas, Germanischer Lloyd, Nippon Kaiji Kyokai and Lloyd’s Register.
IACS has 10 full-time members, and the IRS is an associate member.
“The new decision solves the crisis faced by the Indian ship owners,” said S.S. Kulkarni, secretary general of the shipping industry body, the Indian National Shipowners Association, or Insa.
The maritime regulator had in May asked the six IACS members to wind up their statutory survey operations in India by 1 August. Local ship owners were concerned, as this would have given IRS a monopoly over Indian registered ships, though it’s not recognized by oil producers.
“The new decision gives a bigger role to IRS without completely curbing the role of global classification societies,” the ministry official said.