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Lloyds Register

The LR Group consists of Lloyd's Register as well as a number of Group companies.

Breif History

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Edward Lloyd's coffee house, opened in 1691 in the heart of the City of London, witnessed the genesis of several 'Lloyd's', whose descendants were eventually to include what is today the world's premier ship classification society - Lloyd's Register. Marketing shipping intelligence, Lloyd produced A LIST OF SHIPS, the forerunner of the first Register of Shipping, which was set up by the Register Society in 1760.

Thus Lloyd's Register (LR) is the world's premier ship classification society, founded in 1760. The concept of 'ship classification' originated in the eighteenth century, when the practice began of awarding different classes to ships according to their condition.

In 1834, Lloyd's Register of Shipping was reconstituted as Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping, and the first Rules were published. Two members of Lloyd's, David Carruthers and John Robinson, were the first chairman of LR and the first chairman of the Classification Committee respectively. Sixty-three surveyors were employed in the first year and, in the first five years, 15 000 vessels surveyed in accordance with the new Rules.

The reconstituted Lloyd's Register quickly gained prestige and authority and considerably influenced new developments. The first steam driven vessel to appear in the Lloyd's Register Book was the James Watt in 1822, but the classification A1 only applied to her hull. However, in 1834, when the first Rules were published, the machinery was taken into account. As public concern grew over boiler explosions, LR's Rules became more stringent and engines, boilers and machinery were inspected throughout construction and on board classed ships, as indeed is done today.

Responding to Innovation

Under the wise guidance of Thomas Chapman, LR's chairman for 46 years from 1835 to 1881, the Society kept an open mind towards new ideas. It was during this period that class notations 'Experimental' and 'Novel Design' were introduced as iron hulls and composite ships - iron frames covered by wooden planks - appeared including Cutty Sark designed by Hercules Linton, the son of an LR surveyor. The growth of technology - the coming of steel and ever more powerful means of propulsion - necessitated LR responding to yet further innovation, to participate in research and take its place in the shipyard and engineering workshop.

International Conventions

Maritime safety has always been a primary concern of LR. For example, LR took the initiative over Load Lines: the voluntary freeboard, known as Lloyd's Rule, was improved by LR's famous chief ship surveyor, Benjamin Martell. He produced freeboard tables which, largely as a result of Samuel Plimsoll's pleading in Parliament, were adopted by the Board of Trade. These rules were the foundation of the 1930 International Load Line Convention.

Frequently it takes a major casualty to initiate an improvement to the regulations. The sinking of the Titanic - considered by her owners to be unsinkable and therefore not classed - led to the subdivision rules for passenger ships, later incorporated in the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea, 1929. LR's involvement with safety rules has grown and, today, LR acts on behalf of more than 100 governments, carrying out statutory surveys and issuing certificates.

Developing tomorrow's Rules

During the last 50 years or so, the rapid growth in oil, gas and chemical transport, increases in ship size and speed, containerisation and developments in cargo handling systems have brought new hazards, creating the need for continuing revision of safety regulations. Established in 1958, the present International Maritime Organisation (IMO) provides a forum for discussing reform; through IMO, LR plays an active role in formulating and developing safety standards. And in time, today's standards become tomorrow's Rules and part of LR's history.

LR not only serves the shipping industry but provides offshore and industrial advisory and inspection services. LR's impartiality and integrity stem from its complete financial, commercial and political independence.

Lloyds Register Logo

LR operates from more than 200 exclusively staffed offices worldwide, with 4,500 technical and administrative staff undertaking work for LR and on behalf of 135 national administrations. A further 1,500 staff are employed in LR's main subsidiary companies.