Class Societies & Recognized Organizations (ROs) live on their reputation. Acceptance of their technical work can only be maintained by continuously proving integrity, professional competence and quality services.
The decisive bodies by which demand for the work and therefore for the existence of the Class/ROs is ultimately governed by national administrations, ship underwriters and P&I Clubs.
Class/ROs cover fields with their Class & Statutory works which are theirs for historic reasons, some of which would, however, be otherwise within the responsibility of the national administrations. Class & Statutory is part of the required care for the overall safety of ships for which the national administrations have traditionally accepted responsibility and Class/ROs basic requirements for structural strength, and mechanical and electrical systems have thus been made mandatory.
A good part of the Class/ROs sources of work are delegated statutory duties. The scope and extent of such delegations depend on how the national administrations judge the abilities and the professional ethics of the Class/ROs.
The relation to ship underwriters and P&I Clubs can only work by virtue of the fact that they continue to have a need for the services rendered by the Class/ROs. If, in their view, the statements of the organizations become insufficient or unreliable, ship underwriters and P&I Clubs may use their own sources.
Anything that is detrimental to the Class/ROs reputation for integrity and competence must therefore be avoided for Intermaritime Certification Services (ICS), including surveyors & auditors and is an essential measure for safeguarding the reputation of ICS.
The observation of the Code of Ethics is applicable to Intermaritime Certification Services (ICS), hereinafter called as “ICS”.
A surveyor or auditor must always be made to realize that all his activities are taken as indicative by ICS.
2.1 Guiding Principles
Each surveyor/auditor has to realize and to accept the present Code of Ethics as reflected in ICS is desired from all perspectives.
Each surveyor/auditor shall refrain from any improper or questionable methods including the use of false, incorrect, incomplete or tendentious information in soliciting work and shall decline to pay or to accept commissions for securing such work. Each surveyor/auditor shall not use unethical means to obtain advancement in the marine field or to injure others in the marine community.
2.3 Confidentiality of Information
The companies shall consider all submitted information including certificates, survey reports and other technical, commercial or strategic information to be proprietary and the contents or copies shall not be made available to another party without the authorization of ICS.
2.4 Issuing documents without appropriate action
No surveyor/auditor shall issue, stamp or endorse class, statutory or other documents without performance of the respective surveys or audits and/or the required appropriate actions and without an authorization granted by ICS.
The basis services (technical and field) rendered to the marine industry but must not lead to compromises on safety of life and property at sea or to the lowering of technical standards.
3.2.1. Each surveyor/auditor is free to market its technical and related activities in a manner considered necessary to achieve its objectives. However, marketing methods should not be pursued to a position which involves deliberate misrepresentation in order to obtain business to the detriment of other ICS’s surveyor/auditor.
3.2.2 A surveyor/auditor shall not knowingly pass on to another party any information which is client confidential so as to place that company in a position of advantage.
3.2.3 A surveyor/auditor shall not knowingly undermine the reputation of another surveyor/auditor by spreading false, incorrect or biased information.
3.2.4 Any surveyor/auditor can decide to apply and publicize any change to its or their regulations that goes beyond the standards or procedures established within ICS. However,when notifying the clients of these changes, the companies concerned shall do so in a manner that is supportive of the image and aims of ICS and suitably acknowledges ICS initiatives, if any, in the field addressed. The timing of such a statement shall not conflict with press releases under discussion within ICS and already provided with a specific date of publication.
3.2.5 In an effort to obtain Class/Statutory certificates of a ship changing flag, a surveyor/auditor should not misrepresent the degree of recognition of ICS by the new national administration.
If conditions and arrangements of existing bilateral agreements between surveyor/auditor are changed following conclusion of (a) new agreement(s) by one of the parties to the original agreement with a third party, in favor of that party, the new situation shall be made public as necessary and shall be respected by the other party to the original agreement.
No class surveyor shall intentionally ignore existing dual classification arrangements with another classification society, i.e. perform surveys for his society, as if the ship was single class only, without notifying the other society at all. One society shall not prevent the other society from participating directly in a survey on a vessel which enjoys dual classification, should they wish to do so.
3.5.1. It must not happen that a shipowner, having been reminded that surveys are overdue, presents copies of survey reports which has previously performed these overdue surveys without being entitled to do so and without previously notifying the ICS at all.
3.5.2 No surveyor/auditor shall perform inspections of and/or issue certificates for materials, machinery, components, equipment, etc., on behalf of another Class/ROs unless entitled to do so, either by dual classification agreement or by individual authorization from the Class/ROs contracted to the owner.
3.6.1 If a surveyor/auditor decides not to implement an ICS requirement in part or totally or withdraws an ICS requirement, that surveyor/auditor shall notify other Class/ROs of this action. Such action shall not be used as a means for obtaining business to the disadvantage of ICS.
3.6.2 A surveyor/auditor shall not deliberately misinterpret any ICS requirement, instruction or procedural in such a manner as to diminish the intent of the requirement, instruction or procedural in order to obtain business.
The observance of the Code of Ethics is a mandatory requirement for surveyors/auditors and is an essential measure for safeguarding the reputation and integrity of ICS.