The International Association of Classification Societies – IACS

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IACS can trace its origins back to the International Load Line Convention of 1930 and its recommendations. The Convention recommended collaboration between Classification Societies to secure “as much uniformity as possible in the application of the standards of strength upon which freeboard is based…”. Following the Convention, RINA hosted the first conference of major Societies in 1939 – also attended by ABS, BV, DNV, GL, LR and NK – which agreed on further cooperation between the Societies. A second major Class Society conference, held in 1955, led to the creation of Working Parties on specific topics and, in 1968, to the formation of IACS by seven leading Societies. The value of their combined level of technical knowledge and experience was quickly recognised. In 1969, IACS was given consultative status with the International Maritime Organization (IMO). It remains the only non-governmental organization with Observer status which is able to develop and apply Rules. Compliance with the IACS Quality System Certification Scheme (QSCS) is mandatory for IACS Membership. Full details of the scheme are available on the IACS website. IACS is governed by a Council, with each Member represented by a senior management figure. Under the Council is the General Policy Group (GPG), made up of a senior manager from each Member, which develops and implements actions giving effect to the policies, directions and long term plans of the Council. The chair of GPG is taken by the Member holding the Council chair. IACS’s technical work is undertaken generally through specialist Working Groups overseen by GPG. The Association maintains a Secretariat in London and a QSCS Operations Centre in Southampton, UK.


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