Classification Certificates

Ship Documents


Classification societies are private enterprises whose main aims are to gather information and specifications about the construction, maintenance and condition of a ship, which can be of interest to charterers, insurance companies, the maritime inspectorate and a possible buyer.

Where the Administration of a State is mainly concerned with the safety of life at sea, the classification society is mainly concerned with the commercial value of the ship.

We could also say that if a ship is safe before she leaves the harbour, that is:

  • well constructed and maintained,<:
  • satisfies all rules concerning stability and watertight compartments;
  • has a reliable engine;
  • has enough fire protection, detection and extinction devices;
  • has enough life-saving appliances on board;
  • has the necessary radio communications apparatus on board;
  • takes the necessary precautions regarding dangerous goods;
  • etc.;

than we can assume that the lives of the people on board are also safe.

On the other hand, if a ship is build with the best materials and engineering skills, well maintained, etc. and all these information are regularly entered in registers published by the Classification Society, than we can assume that such a ship deserves a greater confidence by a person concerned about the commercial value of the ship such as an eventual buyer, charterer or insurer.

As we mentioned already before, in certain States, Classification Societies may also be responsible for the tasks of the Administration. But, in any case the Administration remains responsible.

All information regarding a classed ship can be found in the Register Book or the Supplement to the Register Book.

The task of a Classification Society is not only to implement rules according to which ships must be constructed and which can be found in Rules and Regulations for the Construction of Steel Ships, but also to follow the construction of the ship in order to give it a certain class. After the construction the ship is closely followed by means of periodical inspections (annual surveys, intermediate surveys, docking surveys, special surveys at five yearly intervals, complete surveys of machinery at five yearly intervals) or continuous surveys (in that case the Classification Society regularly inspects part of the ship in order not to keep the ship too long in port).

The most important Classification Societies are:

  • Lloyd's Register of Shipping (LR) established in London in 1760;
  • Bureau Veritas (BV) established in Antwerp in 1828 and since 1929 in Paris;
  • Germanisher Lloyd (GL) established in HAMBURG IN 1867.
  • American Bureau of Shipping(AB) established in New York in 1862;
  • Norske Veritas(NV) established in Oslo in 1864;
  • Registro Italiano Navale(RI) established in Rome in 1861;
  • Nippon Kayi Kyokai(NK) established in Tokyo in 1988.

For other Classification Societies, see Classification Societies

The class of a ship is usually indicated be means of symbols. All Classification Societies use different symbols.

The following certificates are currently used by Bureau Veritas:

Classification of Hull

Classification of Machinery

Classification of Automated Installations

Classification of Boilers

Classification of Refrigeration Installations

Annex to Hull Classification Certificate. Cargo Installation of Ships Carrying Chemicals and/or Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk

Annex to Hull Classification Certificate. Cargo Installation of Liquefied Gas Carriers

Annex to Hull Classification Certificate. Inert Gas Installation

Annex to Hull Classification Certificate. Installation for Pollution Prevention   (See also back of document)

Annex to Hull Classification Certificate. Securing System for Containers

List of Items to be Examined for Hull Special Survey (See also back of document)