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Classification: Who's Who of Classification Societies

Classification: Who's Who of Classification Societies

The Societies

Lloyd’s Register of Shipping

Also known as Lloyd’s Rules (LR), Lloyd’s Register was the first classification society to be created, and one of the first to take an interest specifically in the classification of yachts.

It is not related to the insurance underwriters Lloyd’s of London. Lloyd’s Rules for ships derived from principles of naval architecture and marine engineering, and govern safety and operation standards.

Lloyd’s Rules govern many topics, including: Vessel construction materials, ship structural requirements and minimum scantlings by type, operation and maintenance of main and auxiliary machinery and operation and maintenance of emergency and control systems.


Det Norske Veritas originated with Norwegian insurance societies in the late 1850s and has developed rules and standards for technical requirements and acceptance criteria for ships, high-speed light craft, naval surface craft and offshore units, and was instrumental in developing the new UAE yacht registration code.

Registro Italiano Navale

The Italian classification society RINA is a private body founded in Genova in 1861 for the maritime transport sector. Specialists in cruise ships and yachts, about 25 per cent of the yachts currently in construction are on RINA’s books. More than 980 pleasure craft are classed with RINA, amounting to about 160,000GT. It is not related to the Royal Institute of Naval Architects in the UK (also known as RINA).

Germanischer Lloyd

Germanischer Lloyd (GL) was formed in 1867. It is not related to Lloyd’s Register of Shipping. GL develops state-of-the-art rules, procedures and guidance for ship owners, ship yards and the maritime supply industry in order to offer commercially sound answers, putting particular emphasis on efficiency and environmental issues. It executes plan certifications as well as construction certification.

Bureau Veritas (BV)

Bureau Veritas assesses ships for conformity with specific sets of rules, mainly determining structural soundness and reliability of machinery on-board. BV also provides ship and marine equipment certification on behalf of flag administrations.

American Bureau of Shipping

ABS was founded in 1862, and is based in Houston, Texas, with affiliates in 70 countries. ABS rules address many of the standards relating to overall strength, stability, machinery, safety equipment and pollution. Auditors specialise in management and security systems, particularly those conforming to the ISM and ISPS Codes.

Smaller registries

Lesser used registries are:

  • Chinese Classification Society (CCS)
  • Indian Register of Shipping (IRS)
  • Korean Register of Shipping (KR)
  • Nippon Kaiji Nyoki (NK)
  • Polish Register of Shipping (PRS), and
  • Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) Originally published: Boat International 287 ( May 2010)

Bugsy Gedlek

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