Published: 5. 4. 2022.

Croatian Register of Shipping and Boatbuilders – coordinated team for improved operational results to mutual satisfaction

Surveys of boat newbuildings by CRS range from random verifications to complete surveys in all phases of production until product is put on the market.

We live in a country in which a public institution will rarely ever get such a positive feedback on cooperation with its final users as, in this case – Croatian Register of Shipping. CRS is an institution in charge of surveys and conformity assessments in the process of building ships, their components, propulsion systems and additionally installing limitations to noise and exhaust gas emissions, in this case for recreational crafts – boats, small crafts and yachts of up to 24 meter LOA. The process of CRS assessment includes technical consultations with manufacturers, trials, approvals and surveys in accordance with EU Directive 2013/53/EU. For all EU member states, the Directive regulates uniform standards of design, construction, production, surveys and putting recreational crafts on market.

One of constitutive parts of a survey on a boatbuilding relates to the particular approach of the mentioned Directive, i.e. to the "directive of new approach". What does this mean? Depending on the level of the product complexity, the Directive brings a great deal of independence in production and placing products on market while limiting the role of the surveying technical institutions. Such surveys vary from random verifications during production to complete surveys of each single product in all phases during construction, production and placing on market. Being a repetitive process of conformity assessment until the requirements of technical standards are completely met, the possible nonconformities in design and production must be corrected immediately, before launching the product on market, of course. Regardless of whether a conformity assessment body issued a certificate on conforming project, the final, formally legal responsibility for the validity and safety of the product – boat, according to the issued EU conformity certificate, always remains manufacturer’s. Therefore, it can be concluded that both parties – the conformity assessment body and the manufacturer are equally responsible for the products put on the market of each EU member state.

CRS is regarded as a partner in production, not as a surveying body.

In our interview, Mr Andro Vidjak, General Manager Assistant of Croatian Register of Shipping, emphasized that assortment and construction of boats depend on the producers, but as it regards the selection of construction material, most of the crafts are constructed in polyester composites enforced with fibreglass. Although CRS, through its role cannot estimate whether the Croatian producers monitor commercial trends in the offers of recreational crafts in the sense of type, propulsion, size and equipment, it can be confirmed that the Croatian producers, in the sense of technical issues are completely in conformity with standards and competitiveness as any other producer from other EU member states.

Croatian Register of Shipping, on the other hand, evaluates the cooperation and communication with boatbuilders satisfactory because boatbuilders perceive CRS as a partner during the project development and during production process, i.e. boatbuilding. Strict rules are in force worldwide, and Croatian boatbuilders successfully comply with them. This encouraging thesis was confirmed by the producers themselves.

Luka Colnago, director of Colnago Marine from Split, said that his company's experiences with CRS are excellent:

- I have to say that they keep up with our work well, they survey the construction, but act as advisory body that can be contacted at any time by the producers, such as we are. They really try to make us correct our mistakes and help us to improve, especially when, as in our case, our products go worldwide. I also consider that we are lucky to have our own, Croatian body, because foreign bodies would surely set higher prices, and I am afraid that when it comes to surveying part they would be "confined" with document review, without consultations and availability throughout the process of construction. It is important for us that CRS performs their job at good quality level and that they are recognized worldwide, i.e. there are extremely strict rules in the world and, according to my rough estimation, the Croatian shipbuilding is getting better at keeping up with them. I believe this is partly due to the CRS cooperation with the producers.

Luciano Beg from Marservis in Kaštelir also emphasises excellent cooperation with CRS offices in Split and Pula, as well as with the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transportation and Infrastructure:

- "People who work in these offices are simply great and ready to help with their advices or suggestions." However, Beg draws attention to the difficulty which generally accompanies the whole system of production requirements which must be met, while at the same time there are no bases for these requirements in the sense of organisation and infrastructure at national level. - "My experience convinced me that the most common problems occur because some boatbuilders are not informed enough and they present themselves at technical surveys not ready for them. Also, the time has come in which there are ever more controls of ecological standards, but without the accompanying system for their successful implementation. To mention one example – it is forbidden to let waste waters into sea, but the infrastructure for their collection onshore, although formally installed, cannot be found in every marina or small port. And even if they can be found – it is questionable where those collected wastewaters end in great number of cases. I think that the entire system needs revision, starting from national authorities which should set basis, and then upgrade the elements. To put it clearly, we always start from defining and prescribing the "sixth" instead of the "first" item within a process. Besides, there is overcapacity in port authorities in charge of technical surveys of boats and crafts which due to the scope of work, I am convinced, do not manage to completely carry out  the surveys, and therefore, according to my estimation, many boats of age are not completely technically correct. In boating, the situation is still chaotic, because in 2020 new Rules for construction and survey of boats and yachts entered into force and some still need to catch up with them and adapt.

Mladen Peharda from Agena Marin in Biograd, a boatbuilder present on market for 10 years, rates cooperation with Croatian Register of Shipping more than satisfactory, especially in the last seven years:

- CRS is surveying body with quick response, they reply to our questions correctly and help us with all issues in the phases of design, production and provide support during export in case we need “an additional certificate”, as in case of our company Agena Marin which is present in 15 countries. Also, it seems that, they are aware that the Croatian boatbuilders want to make great products and compete with great quality. Their service is excellent, and I have nothing to say regarding the prices – the issue of 1% of the boat value that goes for the survey is not the issue which will stop the production process in our company, especially because CRS is present from the very beginning till the end, practically from the project planning until the product is put on the market, and in this sense their contribution is extremely valuable. Only the fact that CRS is a full member of IACS says enough of its importance in the world. I have a feeling that, as a result of that, the Croatian boatbuilding had its production boost in original boats with proved quality without relying on copy/paste method. If I am not wrong, we have ten or more producers which compete with the best in the world, and all of these are positive stories and steps forward. The future of boatbuilders is still uncertain because it is questionable how we will cope with the growing requirements, ecological standards and other problems in development and production. One must adapt to all of this, both organisationally and financially, but one thing is sure we work and think about it seriously. Luckily, boatbuilding flourishes especially since the corona-crises.  Will it remain this way? I don't know, I do not have a crystal bowl - stated Peharda with this witty conclusion.


article from: BURZA NAUTIKE

Text: Ana-Marija Vizintin

Photo: Archive BN