Top 10 classification

Top 10 classification

Wiernicki: keeping ABS top of the class.

LNG prowess powers this year's class list

1. ABS

ABS has managed to compete hard against DNV GL and Lloyd’s Register in the drive to be the class society of choice when it comes to liquefied natural gas fuel.

It has approved designs for a gas-powered drillship, will class the first dual-fuel boxship feeder vessels and has been chosen by LNG America to approve an LNG bunker-barge design.

Altogether, 2014 was a strong year for ABS that started with former chairman and chief executive Robert Somerville landing the Lloyd’s List North America Awards lifetime-achievement award.

This is a class society that remains competitive, even if it retains a less than transparent air.

President and chief executive: Christopher Wiernicki

Fleet size*: 12,923 vessels, 214m gt.

2. DNV GL Group

THE new combination of DNV and GL has yet to really show its strength. Indications from Lloyd's List Intelligence data suggests a notable drop in the number of vessels registered as owners shift fleets elsewhere.

There is growing concern that the new group’s focus on non-maritime sustainability and environmental issues may detract from its classification role.

The industry is still waiting for the separate GL and DNV class rules to be unified. Like its competitors, DNV GL is fighting to be seen as the class of choice for an LNG-fuelled future.

Group president and chief executive: Henrik Madsen

Chief executive, maritime: Tor Svensen

Fleet size*: 13, 568 vessels, 266.9m gt.

3. Lloyd’s Register

IT HAS been a busy year for Lloyd's Register, whose move to Southampton and new Global Technology Centre are promising developments for an organisation that is now so much more than a class society.

In the maritime field, LR revealed its assessment of global fuels mix for 2030, issued new voluntary notation for vessels constructed with varying degrees of readiness to be converted to run off LNG, and issued new containership rules.

 It also found itself on the top of the Paris MoU white list for flag authority's recognised organisations.

Chief executive: Richard Sadler

Marine director: Tom Boardley

Fleet size*: 7,563 vessels  217.6m gt.

4. ClassNK

THE purchase of software firm NAPA has underscored ClassNK's expansion into more direct consultancy work. It is also reaping rewards from new overseas offices and from its unashamed drive to become a class society recognised globally, rather than in Asia.

But these developments continue to be overshadowed by the MOL Comfort casualty. ClassNK's report into the incident has done nothing to ease concerns.

Now, as shipowners look for 20,000 teu vessels, it will be interesting to see whether ClassNK manages to secure some of this new business.

Chairman and chief executive: Noboru Ueda

Fleet size*: 8,728 vessels 228m gt.

5. Bureau Veritas

BUREAU Veritas is holding sway due mainly to the role its head of maritime Philippe Donche Gay plays as head of the International Association of Classification Societies.

The Paris-listed entity has, however, made inroads in maritime through its classification of the container ship CMA CGM Marco Polo and the other vessels in its class and within the offshore industry following the acquisition of US loss adjuster and risk-assessment firm Matthews Daniel.

Chief executive: Didier Michaud-Daniel

Head of marine and offshore: Philippe Donche-Gay

Fleet size*: 10,800 vessels, 101.3m gt.

6. Russian Maritime Register of Shipping

THE Russian Register of Shipping remains the class society one thinks of when looking at ice-class regimes. Russian development of Arctic reserves bodes well for the country's register but there are more international players coming into the arena, including the register's keen IACS competitors.

Chief operating officer: Pavel Shikhov

Fleet size*: 5,400 vessels, 14m gt.

7. Rina

RINA had the IACS chair for the first half of 2014, chief operating officer Roberto Cazzulo starting an IACS assessment of larger boxship designs.

Early in the year, Rina said it might list in three years. It has also been working very closely with the new class society Tasneef in the Middle East, dual-registering a number of vessels and taking United Arab Emirates class society's surveyors for training in Europe.

Chairman and chief executive: Ugo Salerno

Chief operating officer: Roberto Cazzulo

Fleet size*: 4,959 vessels 33.9m gt.

8. China Classification Society

CHINA Classification Society is benefiting from growth in Chinese ships and from the strength of Asian shipyards, which are class societies' main clients during a vessel's newbuilding stage.

It has also played a part in China's development of a white list of shipyards that will be eligible for state support.

President: Sun Licheng

Fleet size*:11, 958 vessels. Gross tonnage not available.

9. Indian Register of Shipping

A DARK horse, and one that seems poised to benefit from the opening up of Indian shipping clusters in the years to come, the Indian Register has recently announced a restructuring.

This will enable it, like so many other class societies, to focus on consultancy work, and to expand into new industrial markets such as oil and gas.

Chairman and managing director: Arun Sharma

Fleet size*: 1,695 vessels 10.1m gt

10. Tasneef

TASNEEF is the one to watch. Just after last year’s Top 100 was published Tasneef, which was formed by the United Arab Emirates government in 2012, classed its first commercial vessel.

It now has a growing number of commercial vessels under class, some due to newbuildings being delivered, others by switching class.

Tasneef has also been empowered by the United Arab Emirates maritime authority and Bahrain to inspect all non-International Maritime Organization vessels for compliance with the new Gulf Co-operation Council code for small vessels.

This is a huge undertaking and one that will see its work spread across the GCC countries and perhaps into the 22 countries that form the Arab League.

Chief executive: Rashed al Hebsi

Fleet size*: Small. c. 50 vessels, but not given, mostly dual-classed.


*Fleet size, where given, comes from each classification society's figures in September/October 2014.

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