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Classification. To be classed with Lloyd’s, approval is necessary for the constructional plans, the materials used and the constructional methods and standards, as observed by the surveyor.

The rules governing the scantlings of the ship’s structure have been developed from theoretical and empirical considerations. Lloyd’s collect information on the nature and cause of all ship casualties. Analysis of this information often results in modifications to the rules to produce a structure, which is considered to be adequate. Much research and investigation is also carried out by the society, leading likewise to modifications and amendments to the rules.

The assigning of a class then follows acceptance by the general committee of the surveyor’s report on the ship. The highest class awarded by Lloyd’s is 100 Al. This is made up as follows:

100A refers to the hull when built to the highest standards laid down in the rules.
The “100” means that the vessel is considered suitable for sea-going service.
The “A” indicates that the vessel is not only built or accepted into class according to LR Rules but is also maintained in good and efficient condition.
1 refers to the anchors and mooring equipment being in good and efficient condition in accordance with the Society’s Rules.

Other symbols can be used, for example:

The 100A1 can be “+100A1”. + is distinguishing mark assigned at the time of classing to new ships constructed under the Society’s Special Survey, in compliance with the rules, and to the satisfaction of the committee.
N will be assigned to a vessel on which anchoring and mooring equipment need not be fitted because of its service.
T will be used on ships that perform their primary designed service only while they are anchored, moored or towed.

The type of vessel may also appear in its “classification”. For example, a vessel may be of “Class 100A1 oil tanker” and the vessel may also have a special ice class, for example, “Ice Class 1” for general service, or just “ICE” for inland waters.

Other abbreviations and symbols can be used for the machinery on board a vessel. For example, + LMC is given to a vessel whose propelling and essential auxiliary machinery have been constructed, installed and tested according to LR Rules . (LMC is “Lloyd’s Machinery Certificate”.) The UMS notation is used to indicate that the vessel can be operated with the machinery space unattended and that the control engineering equipment is arranged, installed and tested according to LR Rules. For refrigerated cargo installations, the notations can be Lloyd’s RMC and if the notation has to be given to a liquefied gas tanker it would be Lloyd’s RMC (LG). If the vessel is fitted with approved inert gas systems, the notation is IGS.

This information regarding the classification of the ship is entered in the Register of Ships. The Register of Ships is a book containing the names, classes and general information concerning the ships classed by Lloyd’s Register of Shipping, and also particulars of all known ocean-going merchant ships in the world of 100 gross tons and upwards. In the Register, the information is shown in seven columns, each column containing abbreviated, descriptive details of the vessel and its classification.

The society is also authorised to act as an assigning authority in the case of freeboards and loadlines and a certifying authority for safety and other certification. This means that it acts as the agent for the government in administering certain of the mandatory requirements for shipping. When the society issues a certificate, the document states that it is issued under the authority of the government whose flag the vessel may fly.

Services offered by some classification societies:

Control of design, specification and construction plans.
Technical supervision of new construction and repairs.
Classification of hull, machinery, electrical and refrigeration installations.
Tonnage measurement and certification.
Control of compliance with Conventions.
Acting with delegated authority on behalf of governments in respect of statutory requirements and issue of certificates.
Supervision of conversions.
Surveying of machinery, equipment, arrangements and materials.
Technical supervision and certification of containers. Research and development.
Advice to clients.
Offshore technology.
Approval of design, surveys and reports on hovercraft; non-mercantile shipping; yachts and small craft.