Regulators from the European Commission, in conjunction with officials from the EFTA Surveillance Authority (representing Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland) and national competition authorities, carried out surprise inspections at the premises of several providers of classification services for merchant ships. Ship classification services concern the certification of ships’ conformity with the technical standards for design and maintenance. The companies reportedly involved in the inspections include Lloyd’s Register of the UK, Germanishcher Lloyd AG of Germany, Det Norke Veritas of Norway, Bureau Veritas of France and the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS). The Commission is investigating whether the IACS and its members may have colluded to reduce competition in the market for ship classification services and block entry by non-association companies. Such practices, if found, would violate Article 81 of the EC treaty.