The idea of the International Quality Assessment Review Body (IQARB) originally came from a proposal (Liberia et al.) to MSC 100 in 2018 (MSC 100/19/8) and IQARB is currently still under development in its trial phase. IQARB could be a component to assist Member States to fulfil some of their obligations under the IMO instruments implementation Code (III Code) (resolution A.1070(28)) and the Code for recognized organizations (RO Code) (resolutions MEPC.237(65) and MSC.349(92)) with regard to the oversight programme exercised by flag States over the recognized organizations (ROs) authorized to carry out surveys and issue certificates on their behalf. It was, however, emphasized that IQARB should not be seen as an alternative to the sovereign right and duty of a flag State to exercise effective oversight of the ROs/classification societies it authorized to act on its behalf.
IQARB could be developed into a fully international and independent quality assessment review body with highly independent quality standards. There is a vision for a broader role for IQARB in the long term that was put forward, which considered that the future IQARB could be an entity established under an international legislation framework, with its own standards for qualifying ROs, where the scope of application could be extended to all ROs at large. At this current trial stage, however, the scope of application of IQARB will only be applicable to International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) members.
The purpose of IQARB is to review the certification process of the quality management systems of IACS members by considering:
- the adequacy of the IACS Quality System Certification Scheme (QSCS) in meeting the objectives set before classification societies/ROs by regulators, industry and in its compliance with the requirements of the RO Code in relation to the relevant provisions of IMO mandatory instruments, such as SOLAS 1974 regulations I/6, II-1/3-1 and XI -11/1, etc., as well as the III Code;
- the performance of Accredited Certification Bodies (ACBs) against the criteria of QSCS;
- the nature of findings; and
- the robustness and effectiveness of the agreed corrective actions that classification societies/ROs have put in place to address the findings that were identified during the ACB audits.
As a result of IQARB's review, a consolidated factual statement on the certification of the quality management systems of each IACS classification society/RO, including any recommendation on QSCS and the performance of ACBs, will be issued and released into the public domain. These factual statements and recommendations would therefore be available to any third party that seeks further independent corroboration that the certification process of the classification societies/ROs, as undertaken by the independent ACBs, has been reviewed competently, separately and independently by IQARB and can be relied upon. IQARB factual statements may also provide confidence to interested parties in the independence and integrity of the classification society/RO's certification by the ACB to interested parties.
For Factual Statements to 12 IACS members by the International Quality Assessment Review Body (IQARB), please click here.