Indian Register of Shipping

Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) is an internationally recognized, independent ship classification society, founded in India in 1975. It is a Non-Profit organisation, Public undertaking and a member of the 13 member International Association of Classification Societies (IACS). It was inducted into IACS along with Croatian Register of Shipping (CRS) and Polish Register of Shipping (PRS).[1]

Indian Register of Shipping
Non-Profit Organisation, Public Ltd. Company
GenreClassification Society
Key people
Arun Sharma (Chairman cum Managing Director)

Today, IRS acts on behalf of the Maritime Administration of the Indian government as the sole authority for final assignment of Load Lines in Indian flag vessels and also as the security organisation that determines compliance under the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS) code for Indian flag ships and port facilities.

IRS provides independent third party technical inspection and certification services for all types of ships, marine craft and structures. These services have also been expanded to cover a range of offshore and industrial projects and are designed to meet ISO 9001 specifications (the International Standard on Quality Management Systems).

Being the parent company of Indian Register Quality Systems, Indian Register of Shipping was established as a public limited company in March 1975 and has been providing classification and records of mercantile shipping. In addition, they establish standards and formulate rules for the construction and maintenance of ships, amphibious installation, marine equipment and industrial and general engineering equipment. They also undertake approval of designs, survey and to issue reports on land installations, machinery, materials and apparatus of all kinds.


Indian Register of Shipping was founded in 1975 to act as a catalyst of self-regulation by Indian Shipping Industries and to serve as a forum for research and development.

Here are some important milestones in its history[2]

  • 1975 – IRS was established and registered under section of the Companies Act 1956 as not for profit public limited company. In the same year dual class agreements for mutual cooperation were signed with the American Bureau of Shipping, Lloyd's Register of Shipping and Det Norske Veritas, the first register of ships was also published in the same year.
  • 1977 - IRS published its first rule book.
  • 1979 - IRS was authorised by the Indian government to assign load lines on Indian flag vessels. In the same year it diversified its activities to include inspection for land based industries.
  • 1983 – dual class agreement with Bureau Veritas.
  • 1984 – dual class agreement with Germanischer Lloyd.
  • 1991 – IRS became an associate of the IACS.
  • 1997 – IRS was appointed by the Maritime Administration of the Indian government as the sole authority for final assignment of Load Line in Indian flag vessels.
  • 1998 – IRS was appointed as the only recognised organisation for conducting audits under the ISM Code for all Indian flag vessels.
  • 2000 – The International Underwriting Association under the Institution Classification Clause recognises the IRS. By virtue of this ships classified under the IRS would not attract any extra insurance. This was a first for an Associate Member.
  • 2004 - The International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS) came into effect. IRS was appointed as the sole recognised security organisation to determine compliance under the code for Indian flag ships and port facilities.
  • 2010 – IRS becomes a full member of IACS.

Organization & Management

IRS is a non-profit making organization. All funds generated from fees for classification services are used solely for the performance of such services. A surplus of receipts in any one year is used for the extension and improvement of the services, including research and development. It has a Committee of Management with representatives from the Ministry and from each industry segment that uses its services. IRS has 15 offices located all over India. It has overseas offices at China, Sri Lanka, Dubai, South Korea, Bangkok, Piraeus, Houston and UK


Statutory Services

IRS carries out statutory design appraisal, surveys and certification work on behalf of Flag States, when so authorized by the governments of such states via the International Maritime Organization Conventions and Codes . The four major IMO conventions are:

  • International Convention on Loadline
  • International Convention for the safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS)
  • International Tonnage Convention
  • International Convention on Maritime Pollution Prevention (MARPOL)

Non-Classification Services

Specification Services

The experience and knowledge accumulated through classification work enables IRS to provide technical advisory and supervisory services for ship owners. IRS surveyors who are seconded in to the owners for such services operate independently. Though distinct from classification services these services are nonetheless in harmony with them. The aim of IRS is to provide independent technical support and impartial cost effective advice to owners. Owners get value for money, coupled with highest standards of quality during construction, conversion or refit. IRS specification services have been used extensively by various ship owners including national administrations, port authorities, oil companies etc. Specification services are provided for pre-contract as well as post-contract stages.

Pre-contract services include:

  • Advice for preparation of inquiry documents for tendering
  • Appraisal of tender bids from shipbuilders
  • Power estimation
  • Fuel consumption, endurance and capacities for consumables
  • Trim and stability calculations
  • General layout and space concepts
  • Cargo capacities and handling arrangements
  • Selection of propulsion and auxiliary machinery
  • Advice for painting and corrosion protection scheme.

Post-contract services

Design appraisal is done at the early stages to ensure that proposed arrangement conforms to the agreed specification. The design appraisal could cover model-testing program for power estimation, sea keeping and maneuvering.

Generally the following plans are verified for ensuring compliance with specification:

  • Hull and superstructure
  • All machinery systems
  • Loading conditions
  • Tank arrangement and capacities
  • Electrical and control system
  • Painting specification and corrosion control system
  • Communication systems and navigational equipment
  • Safety equipment and life saving appliances

Supervision during all stages of construction

At the shipyard, comprehensive supervision is provided during all stages of constructions including tests and trials. Owners are appraised at monthly or agreed intervals about progress, deviations, from specifications and other pertinent facts of owners interest. Visits are arranged to the sub-contractor's work sites to inspect major items of machinery and equipment to ensure compliance with specifications and agreed standards of workmanship.

Supervision during major modification and repair

This includes a broad range of focus areas like:

  • Examination of existing plans of a vessel to assess its suitability for modifications
  • Examination of the existing condition of a vessel
  • Assisting owners in evaluation of contractors
  • Supervision of modification work

Damage Surveys

Damage surveys on hull, machinery, equipment and permanent fittings on classed or nonclassed ships are done at the request of ship owners or any other interested parties such as underwriters, and factual reports are issued to the parties.

This service includes survey of damage:

  • To establish nature, extent and cause of damage
  • Recommendation of repairs
  • Supervision and certification of repair done
  • Final endorsement of repair bills.

See also


  1. India, Press Trust of (2015-09-26). "Indian Register of Shipping to expand footprint in SE Asia". Retrieved 2018-01-27.
  2. "Indian Register of Shipping setting up office in Greece". The Slide Share.
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