The Liberian Registry’s performance record, as detailed below, demonstrates why the world’s leading shipowners choose Liberia.
Top Registry – The Liberian Registry has more than doubled in size over the past fifteen years. At the same time, it has strengthened its position as one of the safest and most quality-conscious flags in the world, consistently featuring in the White Lists of all independent arbiters of ship safety such as Port State Control and the U.S. Coast Guard. The best performing registries – which include the Liberian Registry – are on the “White-List.” Mid-ranking registries are grouped on the “Grey List.” The poorest performing registries are placed on the “Black List.”
Statistics from the most recent Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control confirmed Liberia as the best-performing major ship registry worldwide over the past three years. Liberia is also the most responsive ship registry in the world. It has a well-documented record for successful proactive intervention in incidents, and for publishing the reports of its findings where appropriate.
First in Safety – Vessel safety is a top priority for the Registry. Liberia has a worldwide network of specialty trained nautical inspectors who can perform so called “Harmonized” Audits to ensure vessel compliance with both the International Safety Management (ISM) and International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Codes.
Liberia has also developed a unique satellite-based Compliance Assistance Program (CAP) which has helped ensure regulatory compliance and prevent detentions in some of the world’s most active Port State Control (PSC) areas. In the process, it has contributed to Liberia being named as the best-performing major ship registry worldwide over the last three years, a period during which it has featured on all PSC White Lists. The CAP tracks ships when they enter selected jurisdictions and allows the Registry’s risk analysis team to perform detailed review of vessels, their history, and the ports at which they are calling. As a result, Liberian vessels have experienced a decrease in detentions in heavily trafficked PSC regions such as China. The CAP supplements the existing electronic services already provided by Liberia and is part of a program which adopts a uniquely proactive approach to ensuring that ships flying the Liberian flag are properly prepared for their upcoming port calls, and that any possible deficiencies are handled prior to entering port. The system is completely electronic and non-burdensome, and is provided at no extra cost to owners and managers.
First in Security – The Registry is at the forefront of new security measures. It pioneered the shipboard security manual that has been adopted throughout the world and it has been recognized as a world leader in the implementation of the IMO’s International Ship & Port Security Code (ISPS). The Registry has pioneered safeguards to eliminate fraudulent applications for crew certification and to reduce the illegal duplication of crew documentation. To further enhance security, the Registry developed the world’s first biometric identity card for seafarers. These steps significantly improve security and are immensely helpful for shipowners and immigration authorities. The Registry has also expanded its computer system to file and maintain electronic documents, and it is enhancing relations with maritime colleges and flag administrations that issue certificates to further combat fraud and speed-up the documentation process.
Leading on the Environment – The Registry is also focused on providing sensible opportunities for shipowners to reduce their environmental impact. As part of its ongoing commitment to environmental excellence, the Liberian Registry has entered into a partnership with Ursus Maritime Capital, a U.S. based specialty ship finance firm, to launch an innovative environmental retrofit finance program designed to reduce global carbon emissions, enhance fleet efficiency and competitiveness, and promote a greener Liberian fleet. The Liberian Registry is also offering special tonnage tax discounts for ships participating in this green initiative.
The Liberian Registry is also the first flag state to participate in the Green Award Program, under which eligible shipowners are offered significant annual tonnage tax discounts while at the same time helping Liberia to retain and improve upon its position as the greenest fleet afloat. Green Award-certified ships will be recognized and rewarded by the Liberian Registry for their efforts to minimize emissions and risks of incidents and accidents, while ensuring the best care for people and the environment. The Registry will offer a 3% tonnage tax discount annually to all Liberian-flag vessels that are certified. The discount will apply continually as long as the vessel remains in the Green Award program.
Seafarers’ Welfare – An often-overlooked aspect of international shipping is the welfare of the seafarers serving onboard ships. The well-being of seafarers serving on Liberian registered ships is an important concern of the Registry. Liberia has enacted and enforces the International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions that protect the rights of seafarers. In fact, Liberia was the first country to ratify MLC 2006, and it consistently led the way in pushing for overall ratification. Seafarers can bring claims through the courts in any appropriate jurisdiction (including the U.S.), and are not limited to the courts in Liberia.
Liberia believes in protecting the welfare and the rights of the seafarers on board its ships. Without them, Liberia would not be among the very best ship registries in the world. This is not something to which Liberia simply pays lip-service. The Liberian Registry wants its seafarers to be safe and happy, and it wants to know about it if they are not.
Among other initiatives, the Registry has launched an online Seafarer Complaint procedure which will allow seafarers to submit any complaints they might have using a form-based template. The Liberian Administration will follow up with individual seafarers who use this process, and it will provide any necessary guidance and recommendations.
The Liberian Registry has taken additional steps to uphold the rights of seafarers enacting repatriation requirements into its maritime laws and enforcing its provisions to protect seafarers, including mandatory P&I insurance coverage to ensure that owners are in a position to honor their obligations in respect to crew repatriation. More than two-thirds of the ships in the Liberian Registry operate with an International Transportation Federation (ITF) approved Collective Bargaining Agreement and provide significant contributions to the ITF welfare fund.