Should merchant ships transiting high risk areas carry small arms for defense against pirates?

Selected crew should be trained and have guns available
Professional armed security teams should be hired
No guns on merchant ships, ever

June 2, 2009

Paris MOU demotes U.S. to its "Gray List"

On July 1, 2009 the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (Paris MoU) will start using new targeting lists to determine which ships to prioritize for port state control inspections. And the United States has been taken off the "White List" of quality flags with a consistently low detention record and moved to the "Gray List" of flags with an average performance.

The Paris MoU Committee last month approved the 2008 inspection results and adopted new performance lists for flag States and Recognized Organizations (classification societies).

The "Black List" for 2009 contains 21 flag States, two more than last year. The 2008 "White List" includes 41 flag States, three more than last year. A "hard core" of flag States remain on the "Black List." Most of the flags that were considered "very high risk" in 2007 have retained this ranking.

The poorest performing flags are still Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Bolivia and Albania. New on the "Black List" are Libya, Moldova and Dominica.

Lithuania, Turkey and Japan moved up from "Gray" to "White." Iran and the United States moved down from "White" to "Gray."

Bermuda (UK), France, and the United Kingdom are placed highest in terms of performance. A flag's ranking is taken into account when targeting ships for inspection and ships flying flags listed on the "Black list" are liable for banning from the region after multiple detentions.

The Paris MoU also agreed on the performance listing of Recognized Organizations (ROs). These organizations have been delegated with statutory responsibilities by flag States. This table uses the same method of calculation as the flag State table but counts only those detentions, which the Paris MoU considers to be directly related to a statutory survey carried out by the recognized organization.

The new target lists may only be used for a comparatively short time. From January 1, 2010 itwill issue in a "New Inspection Regime," or NIR.

Developed in parallel with the EU's Third Maritime Safety Package, the NIR is a risk based targeting mechanism, which will reward quality shipping with a smaller inspection burden and concentrate on high-risk ships, which will be subject to more in-depth and more frequent inspections.

The NIR will make use of company performance and the IMO audit for identifying the risk profile of ships together with the performance of the flag State and the recognized organizsation. The past inspection record of the ship as well as the ship's age and ship type will influence the targeting. Full implementation of the system will rely on collection of port call information.

Meantime, you can download the new Black, Gray and White Lists HERE

You can download the Recognized Organization list HERE

The current Member States of the Paris MOU region are, in alphabetical order Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the U.K.

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