Safety Management Certificate (SMC) – this certificate is issued to ships when they have proved compliance with the International Safety Management (ISM) code. It should be noted that this certificate is issued to the operating company rather than the ship and if the ship has changed hands or management it immediately becomes void. However all ships must have valid SMC on board or they will not be permitted to work by port state control authorities. Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate – either an International or domestic certificate (depending on ship’s trading areas) issued to ships over 400 GT and confirming compliance with MARPOL convention 73/78 relating to pollution prevention measures. Minimum Safe manning certificate – details the minimum number of crew and their ranks which the ship must carry. Most of the certificates are issued for a period of four – five years subject to an annual inspection. If any of these are invalid the ship will be considered as not fulfilling the requirements of charter parties in relation to seaworthiness and could result in a timechartered vessel being considered off hire. Classification is not a legal requirement for ships in every country, although it can affect the owners’ ability to arrange insurance or even attract cargoes. The earliest classification society was Lloyd’s Register founded in xxxx. Its original purpose was to provide details of ships’ condition which would allow insurers and cargo interests to consider the likely risk of shipping goods on any particular ship. From initially providing an assessment of condition, Lloyd’s Register went on to overseeing construction of ships from the earliest stages. The result is a class notation which is assigned to the ship and which requires regular re-inspection to be retained. Each five years a ship has to undergo a Special Survey which requires the vessel to be dry-docked (something which is always mentioned and allowed for in timecharter parties).