Ship Classification

Class ARS Rules

The Class ARS Rules & Regulations derive from principles of naval architecture, marine engineering IMO conventional requirements, MSC circulars, IACS unified interpretations, in service feedback and research findings. Design and Construction requirements, scope of tests and surveys are defined by the Rules for Ship Classification and Construction.

Classification Surveys are based on a regular five-year cycle including Annual Surveys, an Intermediate Survey and a comprehensive Special Survey including dry docking or underwater inspection in lieu of dry docking twice in a five year period. The society’s Rules and Regulations for the Construction and Classification of Ships are systematically developed, continually upgraded through a structure of specialized technical committees. In addition the society has developed Guidance & Instruction Manuals for marine surveys for compliance with classification and various statutory requirements.

Ships designed, built and tested in accordance with the appropriate Class ARS rules are provided with a Certificate of Classification. The Society issues the Certificate of Classification upon completion of relevant plan approval, surveys, tests and trials.

During the ship’s commercial operation, Class ARS performs in-service surveys so as to confirm that the condition of the hull, machinery and equipment remains in compliance with the applicable rules at the time of the survey.

Classification surveys are carried out by qualified surveyors using mainly visual inspection and sampling techniques. They do not consist of comprehensive verification or monitoring.

Classification certificates are generally issued for a 5-year period, subject to the satisfactory completion of periodical in-service surveys. The most common periodical classification surveys are the annual, intermediate and class renewal surveys. In accordance with Class ARS Rules, it is owner’s responsibility to present the ship for survey within the appropriate dates. Class ARS publishes the ship’s classification status showing the due dates of each periodical survey, both on-line through it's website Info for owners that subscribe to this service, or by means of quarterly letters.

In addition to the classification rules, ships must comply with a number of international conventions. This compliance is to be primarily ensured by the Flag Administration of the country where the ship is registered.

The most important international conventions that apply to ships engaged on international voyages are:

  • International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS)
  • International Convention for the Prevention of Maritime Pollution (MARPOL)
  • International Convention on Load Lines

The principles of the statutory inspection and survey work are basically the same as in respect of classification surveys, that is the verification by Class ARS exclusive surveyors that a ship is in compliance with applicable requirements at the time of the survey.