States are responsible for ensuring that ships under their flag are designed, constructed and maintained in compliance with the safety requirements established in the conventions and instruments approved within the IMO. To carry out these tasks, they are supported by the classification societies.
The regulation of classification societies in Spain is contained in articles 97 and 107 of Law 14/2014, of 24 July, known as the Spanish Shipping Act. It is algo applicable the Royal Decree 877/2011, issued following European Directive 2009/15/CE, of 23 April 2009, that establishes unified rules and regulations for organizations in charge of inspection and recognition of vessels, and various European Regulations, such as Regulations (EC) 336/2006, of 15 February 2006, y (EU) 1257/2013 of 20 November 2013.
The main purpose of Royal Decree 927/2020 is to establish in which cases a recognized organization can act in the name of the Spanish Maritime Administration The aim is to reduce waiting times for obtaining the obligatory certificates and to improve the competitiveness of ships flying the Spanish flag as these cannot see their activity affected by delays in carrying out necessary inspections. The new international Conventions and EU Regulations affecting maritime safety and prevention of contamination of the marine environment require more flexibility and delegating on these organizations.
The cases in which recognized organizations may be authorized to carry out ship surveys on behalf of the Spanish General Directorate of the Merchant Navy (GDMN) are as follows:
a) When a Spanish ship is in a foreign port and needs to extend the term of validity of any mandatory certificate as the expiration date approaches.
b) When a Spanish ship is dedicated to making trips between foreign ports and its transfer to a national port is detrimental to its commercial exploitation, to carry out any of the mandatory surveys.
c) When a Spanish ship, due to breakdowns or other causes of accident, must be recognized abroad.
d) When a Spanish ship is built or carries out transformation, reform or major repair works abroad.
e) When a Spanish ship calls in a Spanish port on non-working days or outside working hours, or for any other reason, the surveys cannot be provided by the inspection services of the Harbour Master Office.
f) When, in light of logistical conditions, to adapt to its procedures or the need for agility in the operation, the company so decides.
g) When a ship is abroad and requests to be flagged in Spain.
h) When a company has its head office abroad.
In addition to the above, authorized organizations will be able to control that the rules for the management of the operational safety of a vessel are followed and will be able issue and renew the maritime labour certificate and the declaration of maritime labour compliance Part I, referred to in the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC).