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Old January 21st, 2020, 03:59 PM
Chris Barlow Chris Barlow is offline
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Default Space craft classification societies’ in Traveller?

My current job is working for Lloyds Register (LR), formerly Lloyds Register of Shipping.

Wikipedia describes LR as “a technical and business services organisation and a maritime classification society. Wikipedia goes on to describe a classification society as “classification society (however called) is a non-governmental organization that establishes and maintains technical standards for the construction and operation of ships and offshore structures.” The American one is called the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS).

What has this to do with Traveller you ask? Well if a tech level 7 to 8 planet like earth in the 21st century has marine classification societies. Then a high tech space going empire like the Third Imperium, will certainly have the equivalent to a classification society to establish and maintain technical standards for space craft of all types.

However a look through my Traveller literature and websites. I can find no such organisation mentioned. Has anyone else?

Here are a few thoughts on how I think such an organisation could work in Traveller, based on many years of playing and referring traveller. These ideas area classed under four headings:

1.When would players who own or operate space craft come across a space craft classification society?

2. Who in the Third Imperium would run such an organization(s)? Would it be like on earth a non-government organization, a business, or the Imperium itself?

3. What sort of skills would the people who actually inspect space craft on behalf of a spacecraft classification society have? What previous careers would they have followed? And last but not least how much do their services cost.

4. An adventure idea for players involving such space craft classification societies’.

1. HOW PLAYERS ENCOUNTER SPACE CRAFT CLASSIFICATION
SOCIETIES?

(a) If spacecraft classification societies’ are similar to their Sol maritime equivalents one of their main activities is regular surveys of vessels to assess their “space worthiness”

(b) For player operating even a small space craft such as a Free Trader, Far Trader or S class scout. This would be as part of the monthly maintenance costs. The shipyard would do the actual maintenance, then a surveyor employed by the classification society would check the maintenance and confirm to the players it has been correctly done. Player would probably receive an emailed report detailing all the checks done by the surveyor. Surveyors report part of the standard monthly maintenance costs for the craft.

(c) Other times the classification society surveyor might be employed would be after the players’ spacecraft has undergone repairs in a shipyard. The surveyor would have to check the craft is now “space worthy”. If not he/she will have the power to ban the players from flying the ship away until it is safe to do so.

(d) Alternatively smaller ships (say under 1000 tonnes) might only need to be checked by the classification society annually. However the same rules apply as with monthly maintenance and surveys after repairs are carried out.

(e) When a potential patron wants to hire the players because they have a spacecraft. The patron may first require a survey by a registered classification society. Juts to check the players’ ship is up to the job. The survey in this case would be paid for by the patron. However any faults with the ship uncovered by the survey would usually need to be paid for by the players.

(f) Determining how many spacecraft classification societies are in a system. If a system has a class A starport there will be 1d6 societies present. If a system has a class B starport there will be 1d3 societies present. If a system only has a class C starport, one classification society will have a presence, if 8+ is rolled on a 2d6 dice roll. Systems with class D, E or lower starports will not have a spacecraft classification society presence.


2. WHO RUNS SPACECRAFT CLASSIFICATION SOCIETIES?

(a) As with Sol marine classification societies, the space craft classification societies may be non-government organizations’, financed by the fees they charge ship owners’ and ship yards for their services.

(b) Alternatively the space craft classification societies, may be profit making businesses licenced by the Third Imperium, or the Zhondani Consulate, Aslan Hierates, or Solomani Confederation. All depending in which sector the players are adventuring.

(c) Thirdly the Third Imperium may regard space craft classification as so important that it does the job itself. As ship surveys and classifications would be done usually in shipyards, near or in spaceports. Then possibly a spacecraft classification bureau might be part of the Space Port Authority (SPA). Alternatively it could be part of the Third Imperium equivalent of the Department of Transport, or the Department of Trade.



3. SKILLS REQUIRED BY CLASSIFICATION SOCIETY EMPLOYEES.

(a) These skill and career requirements’ are based on the Mongoose Traveller, first edition rules, published in 2008. Please adjust for your version of Traveller.

(b) The classification society employee most likely to be meet by the players, is the surveyor responsible for surveying their ship after routine maintenance or repairs have been done.

(c) For 21st century Sol marine classification societies, even trainee surveyors need degrees in marine engineering or naval architecture. This would indicate the Traveller careers Citizen – Worker and Navy – Engineering/gunnery are the closest matches, for spacecraft classification societies.

(d) However in previous decades marine classification societies, employed “retired sea captains” as surveyors. So possibly a player who has gained rank six in either the Merchants – Merchant Marine or Merchants – Free Trader, could have a second career as a spacecraft classification society surveyor.

(e) Whatever previous careers they have had, players or non-player characters who want to be qualified space craft surveyors employed by licensed space craft classification societies will need the following skills at a minimum of level one: computer, engineer manoeuvre drive (M-drive), engineer jump drive (J-drive), engineer (life support), mechanic and pilot spacecraft. Other useful skills could include vacc suit and zero-g for examining ships hulls, sensors skill, pilot small craft, any other engineering skill and Astrogation.

(f) Space craft classification support staff would probably fit the citizen – corporate career, unless the classification society is part of the Imperial bureaucracy, in which case civil service career would be more appropriate.

(g) Because of the high level of skills required, a qualified surveyor in the Third Imperium would probably get a monthly salary of 4,000 credits, similar to a ships engineer, see spacecraft operations section of Mongoose Traveller rule book, page 137 of my version.

(h) If the survey of the players’ ship is not being done as part of monthly or annual maintenance, the cost will be as follows: 100 ton ship 500 credits, 200 ton ship 1,000 credits, 400 ton ship 2,000 credits, 500 ton ships 2,500 credits. Larger craft charge at 750 credits per 100 tons as may need more than one surveyor to do the job. For a ship under 500 tons, assume the survey takes one day. For larger ships assume one day per 500 tons.


4. ADVENTURE IDEA INVOLVING SPACE CRAFT CLASSIFICATION SOCIETIES.

(a). Players need a ship with at least one passenger stateroom for hire, and be at a system with an A or B class starport.

A local space craft classification society wants to hire the players’ ship, to take one of their surveyors to a nearby system with a class C or D starport. The system does not have its own spacecraft classification society office, and the owner of an R class subsidised merchant wants the repairs carried out by the local shipyard checked. The players will be paid high passage rates there and back for one surveyor. Plus 10,000 credits to assist the surveyor in any way while he/she is doing the ship survey.

(b) Referee information: The surveyor being transported is highly experienced but a bit of a know it all. He/she will constantly criticise the player’s ship, and make suggestions on how to improve the ship. Suggestions far too expensive for the players to act on.

1. or 2. There are no other complications and the players need only spend 1d3 days in the other system while the space craft survey is done.
3. or 4. The repairs were needed to repair damage received in a pirate attack. Unfortunately, the pirate corsair is still hiding in the system, waiting for the repaired R class to leave so it can attack again. Alternatively the player’s ship may seem a tempting target.
5. or 6. The repairs being surveyed are to an essential part of the jump drive. The part that needed repair, the shipyard claims failed due to age. However the Surveyor thinks the cause was sabotage, and wants the player’s help in tracking down the saboteurs’.

Please comment freely and franky on the spacecraft classification society idea I have proposed.
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  #2  
Old January 22nd, 2020, 08:59 AM
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The thing that's missing from the long note is why? Why would there be a "Space craft classification society"?

If I recall, Lloyds is an insurance company. And people would come to Lloyds and say "I would like to ship these goods from here to there, and make sure I get paid if they get there or not".

So the entire point of the exercise is to make sure Lloyds isn't going to loose money on this deal.

Extrapolating to the Far Future, who is going to want their ships regularly inspected and catalogued.

1) Ships with a mortgage. Here the bank (e.g. Hortelez et Cie) will want to make sure the ship remains in good working order while there is still an outstanding debt.
2) Ships landing at certain non-imperial ports where the local government has stronger ship requirements than the Imperium.
3) As you mention, a patron trying to hire a ship for a specific mission (mercenaries or other) will want to ensure ship capabilities.

I would rather think the regular inspections would take place during the ship "annual" maintenance. And it would be as automated as possible.

That is, for the crew doing the annual maintenance, they will hook up a hand-comp to the main computer, get a reading of the state of every system on the ship and get a list of things that need inspection, adjustments, or replacements. Running that report on the ship when the work is done (to prove it was completed) should also serve as a basis for any classification report.


The only time you would have a team of inspectors crawling around the ship would be because of very special circumstances.
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Old January 22nd, 2020, 10:28 AM
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I figure the Vilani (former) bureaux as being interested for the purposes of collecting and enforcing patent fees, but Naval and Scout procurement will probably be more about perception than reality. Command wants an Assault Cruiser, so *this* is an Assault Cruiser.
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Old January 22nd, 2020, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjoneslo View Post
The thing that's missing from the long note is why? Why would there be a "Space craft classification society"?

If I recall, Lloyds is an insurance company. And people would come to Lloyds and say "I would like to ship these goods from here to there, and make sure I get paid if they get there or not".

So the entire point of the exercise is to make sure Lloyds isn't going to loose money on this deal.

Extrapolating to the Far Future, who is going to want their ships regularly inspected and catalogued.

1) Ships with a mortgage. Here the bank (e.g. Hortelez et Cie) will want to make sure the ship remains in good working order while there is still an outstanding debt.
2) Ships landing at certain non-imperial ports where the local government has stronger ship requirements than the Imperium.
3) As you mention, a patron trying to hire a ship for a specific mission (mercenaries or other) will want to ensure ship capabilities.

I would rather think the regular inspections would take place during the ship "annual" maintenance. And it would be as automated as possible.

That is, for the crew doing the annual maintenance, they will hook up a hand-comp to the main computer, get a reading of the state of every system on the ship and get a list of things that need inspection, adjustments, or replacements. Running that report on the ship when the work is done (to prove it was completed) should also serve as a basis for any classification report.


The only time you would have a team of inspectors crawling around the ship would be because of very special circumstances.

I always assumed annual maintenance also involved a certification process covered in the costs and the time.
Generally speaking, planets probably don't want hot messes coming anywhere in near orbit spewing radiation or possibly falling out of the sky onto same planet.
In a more civilized/controlled part of any polity, the annual certification should cover that polity and any friendly trading partners.

Independent planets or not so friendlies may insist on a separate inspection/certification, for shaking down money or intel/anti-smuggling or really really safety conscious.




A bigger question about Lloyds to me is, what is the insurance business model in a Traveller enviornment?

I assume standard rate cargo is insured by the contracting shipper, but speculative cargo and the ship itself is different.

I would also assume insurance paying off the balance of the ship loan to the bank subsumed in the mortgage payment, but reimbursement for sunk investment into the ship would not be covered by that insurance and would have to be separate.
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Old January 22nd, 2020, 12:52 PM
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Lloyd's Insurance is quite separate than Lloyd's Register. Lloyds as such is not a trade mark and hundreds of societies are bearing the name.

The Classification society of your choice (Lloyd Surveyor, Bureau Véritas, Norske Véritas, American Bureau of Shipping, China Classification Society,....see International Association of Classification Societies) would first inspect the ship you (the player) ordered built as it is building to guarantee the conformity to the order and provide a classification for insurance purpose.

The insurance may ask a verification before a trip(often nothing more than verifying the maintenance & repair register if the ship is under the regular surveillance of the society). The owner will ask a Society to perform a yearly verification (usually after maintenance) to maintain its classification. There will also be the in depth 5 year inspection and the dreaded 20 years inspection…. that may bust a free trader tight budget

have fun

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Old January 23rd, 2020, 12:59 AM
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Seems like a perfect fit for the TAS. They’ve been around forever, basically dictate the cost of high passage and offices are all over charted space. Not much of a stretch to think the Imperial Noble running the local TAS office also offers insurance and registry services on the side.

In the absence of a local TAS office, I’d say your local evil MegaCorp is in charge of the registry and things are a lot more... fluid?... in those systems...

At the very least I’d say the services are available at Class A or B starports only, with the occasional C port.
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Old January 23rd, 2020, 02:58 AM
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I was also thinking TAS for a "recognized throughout the Imperium" classification organization - with a possibility that the ISS might oversee local (subsector) classorgs to ensure they are doing their job.
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Old January 23rd, 2020, 10:50 AM
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Funny, I always considered the TAS to be more like the USO for civilians, or American Express.
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Old January 23rd, 2020, 11:22 AM
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Funny, I always considered the TAS to be more like the USO for civilians, or American Express.
TAS is, or can be, many things. VFW Hall, exclusive hotel, travel guidance at both the wide open level (with the Green, Amber, Red system) and as local concierge, hot and cold running assault lawyers, RED teams (impromptu or otherwise), and that touch of "Imperial" on worlds that may otherwise not have a lick of it. I don't see them as being a ship rating service, except for the private registry at each port that warns members not to ship with Old Captain Calamity...
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Old January 23rd, 2020, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whartung View Post
Funny, I always considered the TAS to be more like the USO for civilians, or American Express.

The real thing does exactly traveller aid and no more.


https://www.travelersaid.org/about-us/history/


Shouldn't limit us to that, but it should be the core mission.


My personal feeling is ship classification is a jump too far. I'd think something like a society related to the Merchant service for civilian ships and a Naval society or Jane's for warships.
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