Paris MOU adopts new “White, Gray and Black” rankings

Written by Nick Blenkey
aris MoU logo

Paris MoU logo

Santa has a naughty list and a nice list. The Paris MoU has a more graduated approach. It has just the one “White, Gray, and Black” list and, from July 1, 2021, the 27 national maritime administrations that are parties to the port state control agreement will be using an updated version of the list in targeting ships for inspections.

Flying a flag from the bottom end of the list is like waving a sign saying “inspect me!”

A total number of 70 flags are listed: 39 on the “White List,” 22 on the “Gray List” and 9 on the “Black List.” In 2019, the total number of flag states on the list was also 70 of which 41 on the “White List”, 16 on the “Gray List” and 13 on the “Black List.”

Among changes in the White List rankings, the United States has moved up a few notches from 33 to 40. Denmark now tops the list, displacing the U.K. which has slid down to the number 13 slot.

Here are this year’s top 12 best-performing flags:

1 Denmark
2 Norway
3 Marshall Islands
4 Bermuda
5 Netherlands
6 Bahamas
7 Greece
8 Singapore
9 Cayman Islands
10 Japan
11 Hong Kong (China)
12 Liberia

At the other end of the spectrum, here are the latest “Black List” states:

62 Tuvalu
63 Sierra Leone
64 Tanzania, United Republic of4
65 Belize
66 Moldova, Republic of
67 Comoros
68 Togo
69 Cameroon
70 Albania


For several years the Paris MoU Committee has closely monitored the performance of recognized organizations (ROs), mostly classification societies acting on behalf of flag States. To calculate the performance of ROs, the same formula to calculate the excess factor of the flags is used. A minimum number of 60 inspections per RO is
needed before the performance is taken into account for the list. In 2020, 32 ROs were recorded on the performance list.

Compared to last year’s performance level, says the Paris MoU, the RO performance level has slightly improved. The Paris MoU secretariat says it is noteworthy that, unlike in the past three years, no more ROs are categorized as very low performing.

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