IRS surveyors target smaller flags

IRS chairman Julian Padilla
IRS chairman Julian Padilla
IRS managing director Said Nassif
IRS managing director Said Nassif

As shipping rules and regulations tighten, an independent class society believes that it has found a neat way to solve the problems of smaller flag states whose vessels are often targeted and detained by port state authorities.

Miami, USA-based International Register of Shipping (IRS), duly authorised by 18 flags including Panama to perform surveys, audits and to issue certificates on their behalf, has a global network of surveyors who work with shipowners that face possible breaches of port state control.

“More and more owners find our services as a preferred alternative. As we are a non-hierarchical organisation anyone can call us at any time. It is not like some huge classification societies where the clients, especially the small- and medium-sized owners, are low on their list of priorities. One of the main reasons for our success is our willingness to work with smaller owners and support them in their efforts to improve their vessels.” said IRS chairman Julian Padilla.

IRS, which recently increased its in-house team of surveyors by 20%, has cooperation agreements with many other classification societies such with Biro Klasifikasi Indonesia, China Corporation Register of Shipping and Ships Classification Malaysia and is negotiating similar deals with several other classes. “We are in the process of negotiating similar agreements with a few more classification societies and we are ready to work with any classification society, if we can find some common goals,” said Padilla.

“It is natural to expect a port state control inspector to look at an older ship with a different eye than a newer vessel. Targeting matrices of many port state control MOUs also puts older fleets at a disadvantage. It is the society’s vetting process that differs from the general class society approach. We do not make restrictions based on the age, flag and country of beneficial ownership,” said IRS spokesman Said Nassif.

The IRS formula is to carry out a pre-entry survey to establish if a vessel’s owner has shown true commitment to safety. As a vessel’s risk level increases, IRS works with the owner to correct any problems.

If the owner ignores the concerns and the risk level increases, IRS asks for another survey for certification to continue, in some cases drydocking the vessel for a more rigorous inspection. Many vessels have been turned away by the society in 2009 and 2010.

Committed to assist ship officers before a PSC inspection, IRS has produced a CD checklist that could be used as an aide memoire to maintain the ship in conformity with the requirements of safety, security and pollution prevention, to assist passing the PSC inspection adequately and most importantly to reduce the risk of the ship being detained.

The class society recently opened an office in Singapore as part of its global strategy and is planning more offices in the future.

The International Register of Shipping, which was established in 1993, is an independent classification society with a global fleet of more than 1,300 ships. Its surveyors work in more than 100 countries.


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