Marine classification

Ship Classification

Ship classification: protecting vessels, crews and the environment

Classification Rules guide the marine industry through each step of its progress. Acting as a bridge between the world of shipping and its regulatory bodies, classification societies translate standards into pragmatic best-practice for ship design and operation.

Classing marine assets with a trusted partner like Bureau Veritas keeps vessels safe, compliant with regulations, and adhered to high environmental standards throughout their operating life. We are on the front line of defense for assets and crews alike. Ship owners and operators look to us to help them to secure a license to operate, and assess and manage risks.

Our ship classification services

As a trusted partner, we prioritize safety and regulatory compliance while helping ship owners plan for the future of your fleet.

Newbuild ships

We offer dedicated Rules for the design and construction of a wide range of merchant and passenger ships, offshore service vessels and naval vessels. 

We are by your side from the plan approval stage of newbuilding design through to witnessing sea trials and delivery. Our Rules are continually updated to ensure safety keeps pace with innovation – and to cover emerging technologies such as wind-assisted propulsion systems.

Ships in-service 

We are dedicated to helping you evolve your fleet as the shipping industry evolves – from decarbonization to digitalization – to ensure you can maximize the service life of your asset.

We have a global network of surveyors in major ports, supported by 180 survey stations and six marine operations centers. Our technical expertise and fast response times make us a partner of choice for ships in-service. We are pioneering remote inspection techniques to provide even greater flexibility and safety.

Services for specific ship types

The Bureau Veritas classed fleet is the most diverse and the largest in the industry in number of ships. Our experts combine years of maritime and regulatory experience with sensitivity to the needs of each individual ship to provide adapted support to our clients. 

Find out more

Our Classification Rules and guidelines

We have over 140 technical publications available to our clients, including Rules and Rule Notes and Guidance Notes on specific topics. These documents bring together our wealth of industry and regulatory experience and engineering expertise to shape a safer marine industry.

Read the full list

Our specific class notations

We help you keep up with developing technologies and requirements with an evolving range of dedicated notations: 

  • For environmental compliance (SUSTAINABLESHIP 1 & 2,)
  • For digital and cyber compliance (SMART(), CYBER MANAGED, CYBER SECURE, CYBER RESILIENT)
  • For specific operating profiles (ICE CLASS, POLAR CLASS, etc.)
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Dan Frørup

Chief Commercial Director

Bureau Veritas M&O

Our ship classification services, from the initial classification of a new ship through to regular class surveys, draw upon the largest network in the industry to reach our clients anywhere they need us. We make a point of being close to our clients – understanding their needs and letting them know that whatever their doubts or questions, we will be by their side.

Why choose Bureau Veritas as your classification partner?

We are a founding member of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) and have worked hand-in-hand with the maritime world for nearly two centuries. 

We are also uniquely placed as part of Bureau Veritas Group, which makes us the only Classification society that operates throughout the value chain of global world trade. We provide a holistic approach to ship classification, with value-added services that span fuel testing, equipment testing, social audits and more.

To help you achieve and maintain compliance for new and in-service ships, we are:

  • By your side: Our global network of highly qualified surveyors are ready to support you anywhere and anytime you need us, in person or remotely. We have developed a suite of industry-leading tools and software to give you a valuable independent assessments. We work in close collaboration with the maritime industry to make sure our offer is truly answering to your needs. 
  • Pioneers in safety and performance: We have been at several milestones in shipping throughout its history and now count a variety of highly specialized vessels in our fleet. Our continuous and collaborative R&D approach, regulatory knowledge and client proximity means we can offer valuable insight to help industry pioneers progress with trust. 
  • Flexible without compromise: Safety is an Absolute for us. As we work to help you achieve compliance with existing regulation or explore and develop new technologies, this is an area we will never compromise on. 
#1Class society by number of ships
+11,500ships in the BV-classed fleet
+2,900Experts worldwide
180survey centers
19Local plan approval offices
6Marine operations centers

How to transfer your vessel to BV-class

If you are interested in joining the BV fleet, please contact your local Bureau Veritas office.
Our class transferal surveys are carried out according to IACS procedural requirements, or according to our own requirements, depending on whether your vessel is already classed by another IACS member. 

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