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Ivan Bilić-Prcić., Naval Architect, Inland Navigation Division Manager, Croatian Register Of Shipping World-class Service For Inland Navigation Vessels

World-class Service For Inland Navigation Vessels

Ensuring the technical safety of inland navigation fleets is one of the foremost tasks of the CRS, which works through several offices. That enables them to provide their services to the entire Danube fleet and a part of the Rhine fleet

Owners, operators and shipyards choose the Croatian Register of Shipping (CRS) on the basis of its more than 70 years of experience, but also with a view to the fact that the CRS has been operating in Central and Southeast Europe for a long time, providing high quality services and supervising hundreds of inland navigation vessels.

Your priority is to ensure technical safety in transport. Can you explain what this term encompasses to us laypeople, who know nothing about navigation and ships, and what else CRS deals with?

Everyone in inland navigation, including ship owners, insurers, management companies, and passengers, wants to feel safe with various types of vessels on lakes and rivers. Ensuring the technical safety of inland navigation fleets is one of our foremost tasks. We do that through so-called classification and certification processes, which are actually surveys and inspections carried out by experienced professionals who control such vessels and verify their compliance with the highest internationally adopted standards of safety of life and property. These procedures also include protection of the inland waterway environment. CRS works through several offices, which enables us to provide our services to the entire Danube fleet and a part of the Rhine fleet. And we are very proud of that.

You can boast of both being part of a long-standing tradition and possessing rich experience. How is that manifested in your work with clients?

The eastern Adriatic coast has a centuries- old tradition of navigation, and CRS draws its knowledge from this long local experience. Also, for nearly two centuries, there has been organised vessel classification on the eastern Adriatic coast: Austria established the third classification society in the world as early as in 1858, which was called Adriatic Veritas for a period of time. CRS was established in 1949, and it operated under the name of Yugoslav Register of Shipping (JR) until 1992.

Today, CRS is one of 12 members of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), which is the largest such organisation of classification societies, covering 90% of the world’s carrying tonnage. CRS is also a classification society recognised by the European Union in terms of the rules and standards for ship inspection and survey organisations.

Owners, operators, and shipyards choose CRS based on more than 70 years of experience in the field of inland navigation, also having in mind that CRS has been operating in Central and Southeast Europe for a long time, providing high quality services, and supervising hundreds of inland navigation vessels. We cooperate with major transportation companies in the Danube region.

Even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we never stopped our activities and were accessible the entire time, readily working on clients’ requests

CRS Danube, as a subsidiary of the Croatian Register of Shipping, was founded in 2018 in Belgrade and handles technical supervision activities in Serbia and throughout Southeast Europe. Why is that important for CRS?

We are very happy to have an office in the heart of Middle Danube and to be present in Belgrade, because this enables us to provide our best support to vessel owners and management companies headquartered locally and operating throughout Europe. CRS began providing its services in the area in 2008, but having expanded our number of happy clients, we decided to open our Belgrade office – the CRS Danube – in 2018. The opening of the office has greatly strengthened our activities in this part of Europe, meaning that our clients recognised our quicker response and closer cooperation. Even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we never stopped our activities and were accessible the entire time, readily working on clients’ requests. And clients know they can rely on us locally.

Is your best recommendation the fact that you have a large number of clients and that you’re the first choice for most of them?

One of our motivating slogans is ’continuous improvement’, and it is obvious that clients recognise such an aspiration. Among our key goals is also saving our clients’ time, by providing a quick response to any kind of request. Shipping companies and other clients are confident because they know they will get the highest level of service, and fast. In addition, our experienced field surveyors are available 24/7 to provide professional, timely, and on-site responses for all technical questions arising during design, construction, or fleet in service. Following our procedures, our staff helps owners undergo inspections with minimal disruption to commerce and vessel operations.

The association IACS has only 12 member societies, and CRS is one of them. Together, we cover 90% of the world’s carrying tonnage

What does your membership in the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) say about you and your work?

The association IACS has only 12 member societies, and CRS is one of them. Together, we cover 90% of the world’s carrying tonnage.

To become a member, one has to meet a number of criteria, thus demonstrating its professional integrity and high professional standards, which is verified by independent accredited certification bodies.

IACS societies have a major role globally in providing classification, statutory certification, and services of maritime and inland waterway vessels. As a Recognised Organisation, we act on behalf of the socalled flag administration, which are the authorities of the country whose flag is carried by the vessel.

The Inland Navigation Division of the Croatian Register of Shipping (CRS Inland) acts as a competent authority and inspection body. What are its authorised powers? Which ships can it control?

CRS Inland works under the highest and most complex rules and standards that exist in the world, notably in Europe. Europe’s standards are currently the most demanding standards to comply with, and we have authorisations to conduct all inspections and surveys, and issue all documents that are required under those rules and standards.

That means that CRS is authorised to carry out inspections and issue inland navigation certificates for all kinds of EU vessels and EU flags covered by the Directive 2016/1629 and the ES-TRIN standard.

In addition, we are a recommended classification society for the so-called ADN certification, meaning that we are authorised to carry out classification and inspections of all types of tankers, including the most complex, such as gas carriers and chemical tankers.

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