In a safe condition
Today, major classification societies undertake a broad range of activities under strict quality standards to ensure the protection of life, property and the environment. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) requires that ships sailing on international routes must be classified by a society. Many countries have recognised certain societies to oversee vessels flying their flag to ensure that IMO regulations and other statutory regulations are complied with.
A ship that is to be classified must first be designed to approved drawings according to a society's rules. The construction is then supervised by class surveyors and built from certified materials and components. Upon satisfactory completion of the construction, a certificate of class for both the hull and machinery is issued. The certificate is valid for five years, during which time annual and intermediate surveys are conducted to ensure that the vessel is maintained in a safe condition.