Lloyd’s Register Group Limited (LR) is a technical and business services organisation and a maritime classification society, wholly owned by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, a UK charity dedicated to research and education in science and engineering. The organisation dates back to 1760. Its stated aims are to enhance the safety of life, property, and the environment, by helping its clients to ensure the quality construction, and operation, of critical infrastructure.
Historically, as Lloyd’s Register of Shipping, it was a specifically maritime organisation. During the late 20th century, it diversified into other industries including oil and gas, process industries, nuclear, and rail. Through its 100% subsidiary Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance Ltd (LRQA), it is also a major vendor of independent assessment services, including management systems certification for quality certification to ISO9001, ISO14001 and OSHAS18001. Lloyd’s Register is unaffiliated with Lloyd’s of London.
In July 2012, the organisation converted from an industrial and provident society to a company limited by shares, named Lloyd’s Register Group Limited, with the new Lloyd’s Register Foundation as the sole shareholder. At the same time the organisation gifted to the Foundation a substantial bond and equity portfolio to assist it with its charitable purposes and it will benefit from continued funding from the group’s operating arm, Lloyd’s Register Group Limited.
The organisation’s name came from the 17th-century coffee house in London frequented by merchants, marine underwriters, and others, all associated with shipping. The coffee house owner, Edward Lloyd, helped them to exchange information by circulating a printed sheet of all the news he heard. In 1760, the Register Society was formed by the customers of the coffee house who assembled the Register of Shipping, the first known register of its type. Between 1800 and 1833, a dispute between shipowners and underwriters caused them to publish a list each—the “Red Book”and the “Green Book”. This brought both parties to the verge of bankruptcy. Agreement was reached in 1834 when they united to form Lloyd’s Register of British and Foreign Shipping, establishing a General Committee and charitable values. In 1914, with an increasingly international outlook, the organisation changed its name to Lloyd’s Register of Shipping.
The Society printed the first Register of Ships in 1764 in order to give both underwriters and merchants an idea of the condition of the vessels they insured and chartered: ship hulls were graded by a lettered scale (A being the best), and ship’s fittings (masts, rigging, and other equipment) were graded by number (1 being the best). Thus the best classification “A1”, from which the expression A1 or A1 at Lloyd’s is derived, first appeared in the 1775–76 edition of the Register.
The Register, with information on all seagoing, self-propelled merchant ships of 100 gross tonnes or greater, is published annually. A vessel remains registered with Lloyd’s Register until it is sunk, wrecked, hulked, or scrapped.
The Register was published formerly by the joint venture company of Lloyd’s Register-Fairplay, which was formed in July 2001 by the merger of Lloyd’s Register’s Maritime Information Publishing Group and Prime Publications Limited. Lloyd’s Register sold its share of the venture to IHS in 2009.
Lloyd’s Register provides quality assurance and certification for ships, offshore structures, and shore-based installations such as power stations and railway infrastructure. However, Lloyd’s Register is known best for the classification and certification of ships, and inspects and approves important components and accessories, including life-saving appliances, marine pollution prevention, fire protection, navigation, radio communication equipment, deck gear, cables, ropes, and anchors.
LR’s Rules for Ships
LR’s Rules for Ships are derived from principles of naval architecture and marine engineering, and govern safety and operational standards for numerous merchant, military, and privately owned vessels. LR’s Rules govern a number of topics including:
Materials used for construction of the vessel
Ship structural requirements and minimum scantlings, depending on ship type
Operation and maintenance of main and auxiliary machinery
Operation and maintenance of emergency and control systems
Specific editions of the rules are available to cater for merchant ships, naval ships, trimarans, special purpose vessels and offshore structures. A ship is known as being in class if it meets all the minimum requirements of LR’s Rules, and such a status affects the possibility of a ship getting insurance. Class can be withdrawn from a ship if it is in violation of any regulations and does not maintain the minimum requirements specified by the company. However, exceptional circumstances may warrant special dispensation from Lloyd’s Register. Any alteration to the vessel, whether it is a structural alteration or machinery, must be approved by Lloyd’s Register before it is implemented.
Ships are inspected on a regular basis by a team of Lloyd’s Register surveyors, one of the most important inspections being a ship’s annual Load Line survey. Such a survey includes an inspection of the hull to make sure that the load line has not been altered. Numerous other inspections such as the condition of hatch and door seals, safety barriers, and guard rails are also performed. Upon completion the ship is allowed to be operated for another year, and is issued a Load Line Certificate.
Lloyd’s Register’s main office is located in London at 71 Fenchurch Street. Lloyd’s Register also maintains other offices globally, including Hong Kong (Asia Office) and Houston, Texas (Americas Office).
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