Marshall Islands now world's top flag for tanker owners

OCTOBER 10, 2016 — The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) now has more tankers under its flag than any other registry, according to Reston, VA, headquartered International Registries, Inc,. which provides administrative and technical support to the RMI Maritime and Corporate Registries,

IRI says this status was achieved over the summer with additional tonnage joining the registry from markets in Greece, the U.S. and Asia and bringing the RMI-flagged tanker fleet to 44.6 million gross tons.

The RMI Registry has had an average year-on-year growth of 15% since 2001 and IRI attributes this to a continued decentralization of services to better support the registry's owners and operators in every
aspect of their business.

Overall, the RMI Registry now stands at 137.3 million gt, with an average age of 8.7 years.

The 3,937 vessels flying the RMI flag have a safety record that has seen the flag in the U.S. Coast Guard's Qualship 21 program for 12 consecutive years and continue on the White Lists of the Paris and Tokyo Memorandums of Understanding.

"Qualship 21 is a particularly difficult standard to meet," said Bill Gallagher, President, IRI, noting that 13 of the 26 eligible flag states from 2015 did not make it into Qualship in 2016.

"This dramatic development in the spring led directly to the increased tonnage for the Registry in the summer," continued Mr. Gallagher. "The RMI is the only flag state of the three largest that holds Qualship 21 status; where others have faltered, we have remained steadfast for more than a decade."

"Tanker tonnage undergoes a strenuous vetting process and choosing a quality flag is one of the most important factors in the process for owners, operators, and charterers," said Mr. Gallagher. "Through our exceptional operations and customer service to so many of the world's top shipping companies, the RMI Registry is in the business of running a high-quality and sustainable flag.

"We pride ourselves on our proactive approach to our shipowning customers, whether this means practical advice on ensuring that a ship meets port state control standards or addressing our owners and operators concerns in the development of international regulation, we provide a high level of support from any of our 27 worldwide offices," he continued.

The RMI continues to be proactive at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and in September established a dedicated team of experts to guide shipowners through the complications of complying with the recently ratified Ballast Water Management Convention which will enter into force in September 2017.

To comply, existing vessels will need to have installed a Convention Type Approved Ballast Water Management System (BWMS) by the first renewal of the vessel's International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) Certificate.

The RMI Registry allows an early renewal of the IOPP Certificate before the entry into force of the Convention, which allows five years from the renewal date for BWMS installation.

The RMI will be supporting proposals at the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) October meeting for a delay of BWMS installation on some existing vessels.

"We are committed to working with the industry to find practicable solutions to the Convention requirements," said Mr, Gallagher. "After making the difficult decision of choosing a flag, shipowners should enjoy peace of mind knowing that they have the full support of the RMI Registry."

Top Flags of the World's Tanker Fleet Source: Clarksons Research's World Fleet Monitor, Volume 7, No. 9 (September 2016)

RMI Becomes No

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