According to Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, Chairman of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) and CEO DNV GL – Maritime, the class could contribute to transformation by bringing familiar assurance processes to new and unfamiliar technologies, which will ease a quick uptake and smoother implementation of new technologies.

IACS was working to adapt regulations to new needs and remove regulatory barriers, he said.

“An effective regulation is one that rewards early adopters. At the moment, it could be argued that those who adopt last get the best financial return. Instead, let us embrace the opportunities which arise from the digital transformation and be proactive in addressing challenges.”

Ship systems are becoming ever more complex and increasingly controlled by software, which creates new risks, like hacking and cyber-crime. The role of class in this case would expand into new verification fields, e.g. cyber safety, assurance of data quality, and sensor-equipped cyber-physical systems, said Ørbeck-Nilssen.

“Even so, the methods and processes might change but the purpose of classification remains the same: ensuring safe operations at sea while protecting life, property and the environment.”