Points to Compare
The following points provide a brief outline of the benefits of the Liberian Registry to the shipowners/shipmanagers when compared with either national or open registers.
Vessel Construction – The Liberian Registry does not require vessels to be constructed by a particular nation. The supplies for construction and outfitting are also free from similar restrictions. Without this type of protectionism, shipowners are allowed to search and solicit shipbuilders solely on commercial considerations, such as competence, experience, and price.
Vessel Manning – Manning requirements specified by the Liberian Registry are based exclusively on competence, international recognition and safe operation. Many national registries require manning by citizens of the country of registry. This promotes higher wages, inflated labour costs and overheads, excessive bureaucracy, and the potential for interference from organized labour.
Harmonized Audits – The Liberian Registry is the first and so far the only major open registry to have trained a worldwide network of lead auditors in both the International Safety Management (ISM) and International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Codes. By harmonizing the overlapping requirements of these International Codes, the Liberian Registry seeks to provide shipowners convenient, efficient and cost-effective certification services. Shipowners can ensure compliance while reducing the burden on ship and shore staff, as well as reducing survey expenses by enrolling in Liberia’s optional Harmonized Audit program.
Ship Financing – The mortgage-recording regime of the Liberian Register is internationally recognized and acceptable to banks from many jurisdictions, allowing the best opportunity to obtain the most favourable financing.
Ease of Registration – The pre-registration formalities are user friendly, designed to meet international standards in relation to safety and documentation but not to delay operations. Registry staff is available to assist with the registration process and to explain our procedures. Bareboat registration in and out is permitted and no restraints are placed on a ship wishing to transfer out of the register.
Asset Protection/Ownership Flexibility – Unlike many national registers, the Liberian Registry recognizes the need and actively protects the opportunities for asset protection. The Corporate Register of Liberia allows the use of and maintains the integrity of single purpose corporate vehicles. Likewise, the Corporate Register must continue to offer flexible corporate vehicles to ensure that specific ownership options are available to meet the needs of the multitude of shipowning structures.
Tax Sensible Jurisdiction – Vessels in the Liberian Registry are taxed annually with a fixed fee based on the net tonnage of the vessel. Similarly, Liberian Corporations have a fixed annual tax. Taxes on operations and profit are not assessed.
Double Taxation Treaties – Double taxation is avoided in nearly all major shipping business areas due to tax recognition treaties established between Liberia and most countries.
Acceptable Flag for EU Tonnage Tax Schemes – The Liberian Flag is an acceptable choice for many of the new Tonnage Tax Schemes currently being offered in the EU, including the UK, German and Dutch tax systems.
Depreciation Principles – Ocean shipping requires the use of capital-intensive investments. Due to the varying market conditions and demand for ocean transportation services, many shipowners have difficult years without profit. With recognition of alternative jurisdictions, Liberia offers depreciation alternatives not available with most national registers. This in turn allows flexibility with respect to Profit & Loss reporting.
Vessel Surveys – The Liberian Registry recognizes the overlapping requirements inherent to classification rules and international standards. The classification societies have significant representation throughout the world and are a source of tremendous vessel structure and technical expertise. Liberia has authorized qualifying classification societies to conduct the full range of statutory surveys during attendance for routine classification surveys. Qualifying classification societies are not restricted to a particular national society. This provides cost savings, reduction of bureaucracy and operational/scheduling flexibility for shipowners.
Customer Service – The Liberian Registry is administered by a U.S. owned and operated company and managed by industry professionals who understand the business of shipping. While eliminating bureaucracy, the Registry has found the right mix of customer attention and policy enforcement. Likewise, significant investments in technology are being made to ensure superior service and convenience. In addition to the Registry’s offices located in major shipping centers, there is also a network of over 220 nautical inspectors, who are available to attend vessels when needed.
Safety and Quality Reputation – Year in and year out, the independent statistics of underwriters, Port State Control Authorities, seafarer advocates and salvage institutions all recognize Liberia as having a quality reputation of standards. This is routinely demonstrated by Liberia’s above average performance in the indicators of safety and accident prevention as well as in independent statistical reports.
Security – The post-9/11 world has brought new responsibilities for commercial shipping and maritime administrations. The Liberian Registry has been on the leading edge of the development and implementation of the IMO’s ISPS Code. Liberia believes in a practical and low-cost approach to ensuring security conscious shipping. A network of approximately 100 security inspectors attends vessels when needed.
Adoption and Enforcement of International Regulations – Participation in the UN bodies of the International Maritime Organization and the International Labour Organization is another important factor for respectable ship registries. Liberia is known for its international involvement in ensuring the development of practical new regulations when necessary. Likewise, Liberia ratifies important conventions, enacts domestic legislation in support of safety, pollution prevention and seafarers’ welfare and ensures equitable enforcement of these scriptures.
Liberian Shipowners' Council (LSC) – Liberia is one of the few open registries with an independent shipowners' council. The LSC provides member shipowners with a venue to monitor and address problems facing the industry and to share and exchange information and ideas. The LSC is also a member of the International Chamber of Shipping, and the International Shipping Federation (the only maritime employer association who can represent shipowners at the International Labour Organization). As such, Liberian Shipowners are able to benefit from the valuable services of this leading industry institution.
Pricing – The Liberian Registry offers professional service at a competitive price. Savings realized by use of technology are passed back to clients of the Registry.