‘We came! We saw! But it was a long wait before we could conquer’. This has been the refrain of those who have been with the Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) which has now achieved a full fledged membership of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) Council. For nearly two decades IRS had to be content with serving by the wayside seeing only the Big Ten (the only ones to have full fledged membership of IACS) go the whole hog. Now things are set to be different.
“All along when ever we approached a flag state for recognition, our not having full membership of IACS came in the way,” says Capt J.C. Anand, Chairman of IRS. “However, all over the world people say that the IRS officials do a lot of homework and this has given us an edge over others.”
But does Capt Anand finally feel that IRS has the world in its hands? Coming to consider the past analyst surmise that in India IRS will certainly bring about an unsettling effect among other classification societies. IRS has blazed a trail all through its years of existence. Within a span of mere 16 years of its existence it achieved the Associate status of IACS in December 1991. In May 2000, IRS became the first ever Associate to be recognized by the International Underwriting Association (IUA) which until that time recognized only IACS members’ societies. And now it is a full fledged member.
The proactive approach adopted by the IRS for ISPS Code compliance was such that India and Singapore were singled out by the IMO Secretary General as the only two countries who met the IMO target by complying with the ISPS Code within the stipulated time frame. Having crossed the big hurdle IRS is set to foray swiftly into newer frontiers moving on a high growth trajectory.
“We’ve already got the recognition from 14 flag states, that too as not having been full members of IACS,” says Sudesh Kumar, Managing Director of IRS. “We are held in high esteem for our technical and commercial competency. It is the promptness in sending surveyors and doing a good job that is important. The Coast Guard and the Indian Navy are with us because IRS has assisted in making rules for their vessels. So far Indian shipping adhered to the dual class : one with IRS and the other with one of the other IACS members. Now that we are full members the dual class membership will cease and ships will continue to be classed by us.”
Currently IRS classed fleet stands at covering 1493 vessels, aggregating 11.15 million GRT and is growing. IRS is recognized by the International Underwriting Association (IUA), as a result of which ships under IRS class do not attract any extra insurance. The society is in the High-Performance list of Paris MOU and is in the Zero Point list of the US Coastguard.