THE crucial indicator of a return to normality in the shipping industry will be the rate of scrapping during the rest of the 1990s, says Mr Garry Beaumont, Lloyd's Register's chief ship surveyor and director. He said until recently annual scrapping rates averaged 2.2 million gross registered tonnes (grt) but the overall rate more than doubled in 1992, with the scrapping of large ships dominating this change. ''The capacity of the world fleet grew steadily from 403 million grt in 1988 to 444 million grt in 1992, with large tankers providing the greater part of this increase,'' Mr Beaumont said. At the same time the average age of tanker and bulk carrier fleets steadily increased, he said in Lloyd's Register's 1992 annual report. Regarding the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) Unified Enhanced Survey Requirements, Mr Beaumont said this requirement would be tightly enforced on the quality of old tankers and bulk carriers. IACS has advised the International Maritime Organisation of its intentions of self regulation. ''The associated increase in the required forward planning of the surveys and structural maintenance will command the attention of owners in 1993,'' Mr Beaumont said. He pointed out that last year, LR had made efforts to ensure that the structures of new large ships were sufficiently robust despite their highly optimised designs. ''This will avoid unexpected problems when these ships age,'' he stressed. LR also maintained its market share of the world fleet and secured many of the new construction orders placed during the year. Notable among these were the 70,367 grt cruise ship for Carnival Cruise Lines by Kvaerner Masa-yards; the 67,-000 grt cruise ship for P&O by Meyerwerft; three further very large cruide carriers (VLCCs) for Vela - for construction at Hyundai Heavy Industries; two 150,000 deadweight tonnes (dwt) bulk carriers for Anangel Shipping, also at Hyundai; five reefer ships for Equadorian Line at Danyard; the sixth 125,000 cubic metre liquified natural gas (LNG) carrier by Mitsubishi for the Australian North West Shelf Project; and three 3,800 TEU container ships for China Ocean Shipping Co (COSCO) by Hitachi. Work commenced during the year on may further orders, including the five 130,000 cubic metre LNG ships by Chantiers de l'Atlantique for Petronas. Mr Peter Gee, LR's chief Engineer Surveyor and director, said changes to industrial practices required the updating during the year of the rules for machinery, materials, electrical and control engineering. These included steel forgings, welding consumables, steam boiler mountings and steering gear, he said. The rules for refrigerated installation, both on ships and on land, were amended. Significant new developments included the introduction of Provisional Rules for Controlled Atmospheres and Guidelines for the Use of Ammonia. There had been many reported cases of shortfalls in bunker deliveries and, to help shipowners, an independent bunker quantity survey was now available worldwide, Mr Gee said.