9 - T he institutions regulating shipping The first step is...

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The institutions regulating shipping The first step is to identify the regulators. In an ideal world people might expect there to be a supreme legislative body which makes laws and an international court that tries cases against them. Unfortunately reality does not live up to this ideal and probably never will. Indeed some experts doubt whether what passes for international law is really ‘law’ at all. There is an International Court of Justice, but its rulings on shipping matters are purely advisory. People should not be surprised at this state of affairs. There are 163 countries with interest in shipping, each with its own national priorities. Gaining agreement on a body of international law, far less approving an international executive to enforce the laws, is hardly likely to succeed. As a result, the regulatory system discussed is a second best solution. It consists of an ad hoc mix of rules and regulations enacted and enforced by three different regulatory authorities, they are the classification societies ,the flag states and the coastal states. s D (The classification societies) The shipping industry has its own system for regulating the technical and operational standard of ships. The classification societies make rules for ship construction and maintenance and issue a ‘class certificate' to reflect compliance. The shipping industry’s own regulatory system arose from the efforts of insurers to establish that the vessels for which they were writing insurance were sound. In the middle of the eighteenth century they formed the first Classification Society and classification societies have now become an integral part of the maritime regulatory scene. During the intervening period their activities have become so closely involved with the regulatory activities of governments that it is often difficult to separate the two. h Origin of the classification societies Like many other shipping institutions the classification societies are very much a product
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of their past. Knowing something of their history helps to explain the current structure. Lloyds Register of Shipping (LR), the first classification society, can trace its origins back to Lloyds Coffee House in the early 1700s. The proprietor, Edward Lloyd, presumably in an effort to attract clients, started to circulate lists giving details of vessels which might appear for insurance. The next step came in 1764 when a committee of London insurers and insurance brokers published the first Register of ships. This register ‘classified’ ships according to their quality. It listed a grade ‘conferred on the ship by the Committee’s appointed surveyors’. As the class movement developed in the nineteenth century, the role of classification societies changed. At first the main job was to grade ships. As time passed they started to set the standards to which ships should be built and maintained. Technical committees were set up to write rule books setting the precise standards to
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9 - T he institutions regulating shipping The first step is...

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