The Round Table of international shipping associations (BIMCO, International Chamber of Shipping/International Shipping Federation, INTERCARGO and INTERTANKO) have published their latest ‘Shipping Industry Flag State Performance Table’.
The Table, which accompanies the well established ‘Shipping Industry Guidelines on Flag State Performance’, summarises factual information derived from the public domain. The intention is to provide a general understanding of a flag’s performance and to encourage ship operators to reflect on a flag’s quality before using it.
The results of the 2010 study demonstrate that the vast majority of the world fleet is registered with flag states which take their responsibilities very seriously. Many flags have ratified most of the key International Maritime Organization (IMO) Conventions, adequate enforcement of which is shown by their Port State Control records. There is, of course, always room for improvement and most flags continue to receive a small number of potential negative performance indicators, as denoted by ‘black blobs’ on the Table. However, many flags have improved their performance in previous years, some dramatically, and notably six flags had no potential negative performance indicators at all in 2010. Since the Table was first compiled in 2003, there has been a noticeable decline in the number of flag states that appear on the black lists of regional Port State Control authorities.
Unfortunately, there are still a number of poorly performing flags and for 2010 the list of flags which the Round Table believes shipowners should think very carefully about before using includes: Albania, Bolivia, Cambodia, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Georgia, Honduras, Lebanon, St Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, and Sierra Leone.
The Table and accompanying Guidelines are intended to complement the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme, by which maritime administrations are subject to external audit under the auspices of IMO with regard to their implementation of IMO Conventions relevant to the safety of life at sea and protection of the marine environment. The shipping industry associations have welcomed the decision taken by the IMO Council to make this scheme mandatory in future.