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International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships

Adoption: 23 June 1969; Entry into force: 18 July 1982

The Convention, adopted by IMO in 1969, was the first successful attempt to introduce a universal tonnage measurement system.
Previously, various systems were used to calculate the tonnage of merchant ships. Although all went back to the method devised by George Moorsom of the British Board of Trade in 1854, there were considerable differences between them and it was recognized that there was a great need for one single international system.
The Convention provides for gross and net tonnages, both of which are calculated independently.
The rules apply to all ships built on or after 18 July 1982 – the date of entry into force – while ships built before that date were allowed to retain their existing tonnage for 12 years after entry into force, or until 18 July 1994.
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