Past Event

IACS-EMEC TWG Technical Working Group

«Harmonization of Rules and Mutual Recognition of Certificates»

January 30, 2008
EMEC offices
Brussels, Belgium


A first indication that classification societies might come under pressure was the Erika verdict in Paris on the 16th of January 2008. RINA the Italian classification society was - for the first time in class history - attracted a € 375.000.- fine for pollution claims.

The good old days of the classification societies came to an abrupt end when down raids were carried out on the 29th and 30th of January 2008 by Commission officials at the premises of IACS and five classification societies headquartered in Europe. It was exactly one of these two days when IACS officials and EMEC industry representatives wanted to continue their negotiations on mutual recognition of class certificates. It caused a major chock to both parties when the news spread and it had a significant impact on their future work. The photographs enclosed illustrate the situation with no need for a further comment.

The societies inspected were:


  • Lloyd’s Register, UK
  • Germanischer Lloyd, Germany
  • Bureau Veritas, France
  • RINA, Italy and
  • Det Norske Veritas, Norway


DNV for example was the subject of an unannounced inspection by ten inspectors from the European Free Trade Area Surveillance Authority (ESA) accompanied by Commission officials. Brussels inspectors were accompanied by national officials, as is normally the case, with the visits unannounced to reduce the chance of companies destroying compromising documents.

The Commission said "it has reason to believe that the companies and the association (IACS) may have violated the competition rules of the EC Treaty and the EEA Agreement that outlaws restrictive business practices".

A Commission spokesman continued: “We are investigating alleged business practices”, which in other words means “cartels”! The raids mark a dramatic escalation of the tense relationship that had existed between class and Brussels for many years, with regulators suspicious that the 10-member IACS was a mask for anti-competitive practices. The investigations will cover a whole range of class activities including pricing, technical standards, information, and quality.

Two years ago, the Commission considered splitting the dual public and private sector roles class societies enjoy in the maritime field to increase transparency, but backtracked after a lobbying campaign by the industry, which argued that there was no proof that the system was malfunctioning. The Commission has long been wary of the dominant position of classification societies and the lucrative maritime equipment certification in the maritime industries.

EMEC / IACS TWG, Class Directive
Mark Wharton, Lloyd's Register,
Stelios Kyriacu, Hatlapa,
Kjeld B. Hansen, MAN Diesel,
Thorkil Christensen, Danish Maritime,
Stephan Stutz, Wärtsilä Switzerland,
Gustav Henriksen, Norsk Industri,
John H. E. Taverner, Lloyd's Register,

Yuejin Li, CCS China Classification Society
Sieger Sakko, Holland Shipbuilding,
Gert-Jan Huisik, HME Holland Marine Equipment,
Paola Lancellotti, EMEC, General Secretary,

Eiji Owada, NKK Nippon Kaiji Kyokai,
Mark Wharton, Lloyd's Register, Marine Product Development,
Robert Gilman, ABS American Bureau of Shipping (Europe),

Stelios Kyriacou, Hatlapa,
Kjeld B. Hansen, MAN Diesel,
Andrea Carta, Fratini Vergano,
Stephan Stutz, Wärtsilä Switzerland,

EMEC / IACS TWG, Class Directive
John H. E. Taverner, Lloyd's Register, External Affairs,
Eiji Owada, NKK,
Mark Wharton, Lloyd's Register, Marine Product Development,
Yuejin Li, CCS China Classification Society
Sieger Sakko, Holland Shipbuilding,
Gert-Jan Huisink, HME Holland Marine Equipment,

Jan van Herk, HRP,
Dirk Richel, HRP,