Indian Register of Shipping celebrates 2017 achievements and says it is cautiously optimistic for 2018

Continuing its growth trajectory, Indian Register of Shipping has concluded 2017 on a successful note with increased class fleet, growing global recognition, improved geographical presence and strengthened its capabilities through several new initiatives.

In line with its performance year after year, the classed fleet has grown 5.3% in numbers and 4.8% in tonnage terms. In the last three years IRClass’ classed fleet has grown from 10.89 to 12.70 Million GT.

Given the prevailing stressed maritime environment, IRClass says this consistent growth is heartening.

IRClass has expanded its presence in countries including Turkey, Malta, Rotterdam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh to service the growing needs of customers and provide them with quicker access to services. Today is recognised by 39 flag states globally which together represent approximately 55% of the world’s tonnage. Key flag states like US Coast Guard and Malta were added this year apart from others like Latvia, Thailand, Antigua & Barbuda, Cook Islands and Bangladesh.

From the European Union, IRClass received two key authorisations – accreditation for EU MRV (Monitoring Reporting and Verification) services by RvA and authorisation from European Union Maritime Equipment Directive (EU MarED).

IRClass has also developed Rules for LNG Fuelled Coastal and Inland vessels. These Rules will help the maritime stakeholders to promote environment friendly fuels for Coastal as well as Inland vessels.

The rise of cyber-attacks on information and operational technology systems within the maritime industry has prompted IRClass to develop cyber safety guidelines based on International Maritime Organization (IMO), National Institute of Standards and Technology – US Department of Commerce (NIST) and relevant ISO, IEC standards.

The implementation of these guidelines will help identify the cyber risk issues from as early as the design stage of the vessel, and IRClass as a classification society plays a significant role in ensuring that the safety of a vessel and its crew are not compromised by such attacks.

IRClass has also commenced issuance of electronic certificates and has received authorisation from Liberia, Marshall Islands and a few other flags.

IRClass published comprehensive guidelines to assist ship owners, operators and shipyards in understanding the BWM Convention and the steps to be taken for ensuring compliance Indian Register of Shipping’s training arm, IRClass Academy, in association with the Singapore Nautical Institute, delivered a training course on Ballast Water Management in Singapore in March 2017, and is looking to organize more of such courses in 2018.

IRClass Academy released a comprehensive catalogue for 2017-18 covering 50 courses that cater exclusively to the maritime sector and successfully conducted several courses throughout the year.

Two Naval Offshore Patrol Vessels (NOPV’s) named INS Shachi and INS Shruti built under IRClass were launched in Reliance Defence shipyard at Pipavav. These vessels, are the first two vessels in a five-vessel series which are being built to IRS Rules and Regulations for Construction and Classification of Naval Ships. These Rules were jointly developed and approved by the Indian Navy and Indian Register of Shipping.

IRClass signed a MOU with Indian Coast Guard (ICG) for capturing and maintaining refit and fatigue analysis data in respect of Coast Guard Ships. This will enable the Coast Guard to have access to refit data for all vessels of the Coast Guard, which will provide accurate inputs for assessing the material state of ships and for planning future refits.

Throughout the year IRClass has engaged with stakeholders by way of interaction through its Advisory Committees in UAE, Singapore, Sri Lanka and India. Members of these advisory committees, who are senior maritime professionals, have provided valuable contributions and inputs to help develop new services and improve service delivery.

IRClass hosted a customer meet in Mumbai in February 2017 which was well attended by the shipping and maritime fraternity. It also hosted a customer meeting in Bangkok, Thailand as part of its efforts to increase its commitment to the Southeast Asia region. The meet was well-attended by locally-based ship owners and senior representatives from Thai Administration.

IRClass launched the Centre of Excellence in Maritime and Shipbuilding (CEMS), a special purpose vehicle which will deploy an industry-relevant skill development program to equip students and professionals with employable engineering and technical skills in the areas of Ship Hull Design, Ship Detailed Design, Shipbuilding & Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO), Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), and advanced digital manufacturing-factory concepts.

During the cornerstone event of Singapore Maritime Week, Sea Asia 2017 in April 2017, IRClass announced the opening of a new office in Malaysia, and gained authorisation as a RO from Thailand. With its regional office in Singapore, IRClass aims to gain RO status from Singapore as well as from key ASEAN countries like Indonesia and Philippines.

Digitalisation, Big Data, Cyber security, LNG fuelled vessels, Vessel Performance Management are amongst the key areas of focus for IRClass in 2018.

Though the shipping markets have been depressed for a considerable period, some indications of an upturn are being seen.

“The focus of IRClass will continue to be on enhancing its classed fleet, increasing its global footprint, gaining more flag recognitions and further strengthening its image as ‘Class by Choice,’”said IRClass Managing Director Suresh Sinha (pictured).