International ship classification society IRClass’ Managing Director Mr Suresh Sinha asserted that classification societies are looking beyond their traditional roles as regulators and exploring ways in which they can leverage their technical expertise to stay relevant to the industries they serve.

A marine engineer by training, Mr Sinha made the remarks at the recently concluded Qatar Maritime & Logistics Summit held in Doha, Qatar. The inaugural summit gathered eminent industry leaders and decision makers from the Middle East and beyond to discuss issues concerning the sustainable development of the maritime and logistics sectors.

In his speech, titled “Shipping in an age of safety 2020-2030. The role of classification in the modern maritime industry”, Mr Sinha noted that the the maritime sector is rapidly changing due to technological advancements and tightening regulations on environmental protection and safety, and it is incumbent upon classification societies to support these changes.

Class societies are increasingly seen not just as regulators but also as enablers who assist the industry in implementing regulation through their technical expertise”, said Mr Sinha, who argued that “class societies have an important responsibility to ensure that new equipment and technology are tested, approved, validated and implemented in an effective and timely manner to comply with the regulatory changes”.

In a similar vein, Mr Sinha touched on the role of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) and its classification society members who work in partnership with the industry and regulators to develop, apply and maintain the standards necessary for sound shipping.

Mr Sinha concluded by stressing the importance of quality as the cornerstone for all maritime stakeholders: “As the maritime industry tackles disruptions and uncertainties brought about by digitalisation and regulatory changes, the commitment to quality has become a non-negotiable prerequisite for any classification society. If you cannot afford quality, you cannot be in the business of shipping. You either play the (quality) game or you’re not in the game.”

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