Function / Activity
Marine surveyors or consultants are technicians who, through their knowledge, training and experience, are able to express an expert opinion on matters of marine technology.
Marine surveyors can exercise their profession inside or outside a company, employed or self-employed.
Marine surveyors can be involved by any ordering customer of the maritime industry.
As part of cross-examinations, amicable or not, sometimes judicial, on behalf of their ordering customer, they may have to engage in the evaluation of damages caused to ships, goods or port facilities. They determine the reason and amount of damage on ships, ports, marine constructions, transported goods, sea environment…
They also can take action on behalf of ship classification societies.
As all experts, marine surveyors are technician and not jurists: they have no authority to make legal statements.
Introduction to the profession in Marseille-Fos
About 50 marine surveyors are settled in the Bouches-du-Rhône, including 17 legal experts, grouped in professional associations. Experts living in other regions of France may be called depending on their speciality.
However, as the profession is not regulated, anyone can pretend to exercise it.
Each professional association ensures the respect of its own code of ethics.
Future development of the profession
This profession is not regulated. At the present time, there is a national effort to regulate the access to the marine surveyor profession.
To be a good marine surveyor requires having been a sailor. There are less and less French sailors because there are less and less French vessels. From this perspective, it is hard to think of what the European commission could do.
The European College of River and Marine Surveyors (Collège Européen des Experts Maritimes et Fluviaux, CEEMF), which is part of the French Maritime Cluster, and also part of the FEMAS (Federation of European Maritime Associations of Surveyors and Consultants), has started the procedure of classification of its members. It is a training organisation certified by a registration number, and it prepares surveyors for the most advanced techniques of the river and sea domain. In 2014, ten members of the CEEMF already received a certification from the Accreditation French Committee (COFRAC). In time, this guarantee of proficiency and quality will become imperative for all members.