IMO as class leader: a fresh idea

From Lloyd’s List

AN INTRIGUING idea was recently floated about the auditing of classification societies by vice-chairman of the International Association of Classification Societies, Oh Kong-gyun, who is also chairman and chief executive of the Korea Register of Shipping. He suggested the International Maritime Organization become the umbrella organisation for class society audits.

This is attractive because at the moment audits by governments and groups such as the European Maritime Safety Agency are inundating class societies.

There are many flaws in the current approach. It is hard to glean how this welter of separate audits will improve standards globally. Moreover, the audits can be hijacked by local political agendas.

The long probe of IACS by the European Commission was criticised by some as being as much a political manoeuvre as a necessary step to ensure high standards.

If the IMO were to adopt such a role, it would help consolidate its own position as the global regulator of shipping, at a time when that position is being challenged by local bids to introduce laws and enforce regulation on the maritime industry.

The IMO has the strength and knowledge to oversee such a system, and it could ensure a more universal transparency.

Dr Oh is right in saying the current system is “not really an efficient process” and that quality is not really assured. His proposal should be taken seriously.


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