The Advisory Board of the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR), at its inaugural meeting, held in conjunction with the Annual Conference of the Connecticut Maritime Association, in Stamford, Conn., has set a positive agenda designed to drive forward the Liberian Registry's goal of achieving excellence in standards of quality and service.
In his address to the CMA's lunch, Board chairman Rex Harrington reported that the Board had welcomed a number of developments but had also addressed critical issues facing the industry. The Board has set itself and LISCR a timetable to monitor progress and to ensure that the Liberian Registry continues to be the industry leader.
The Board applauded the decision of the Liberian legislature to adopt major amendments to both maritime and corporate laws, noting, "We are greatly encouraged to see that LISCR's efforts to promote reform of the maritime and corporate law has met with such a positive response. The comprehensive package has been produced following worldwide consultation with professional users of the Liberian registers. It combines long-outstanding revisions to existing Liberian law with the introduction of corporate vehicles designed to reflect the needs of a changing market, particularly in relation to corporate structures. It balances the important objectives of security and continuity of ownership of assets with the need to satisfy the commercial requirements of due diligence."
The Advisory Board reviewed LISCR's advanced plans for implementing the electronic recording of ship mortgages
. Rex Harrington commented, "LISCR's revised ship mortgage recording provisions take advantage of state-of-the-art communications technology to provide safe remote recording of mortgages, enabling business to be concluded in real time in the location of the parties involved in the transaction."
The Board reinforced LISCR
's policy on transparency, to promote full disclosure of the responsibility chain for safety and security. "Safety at sea depends on transparency in the operation of the ship," said Rex Harrington, "with free flow of information about design, construction and maintenance, crewing, training, port security, crew identification and proper insurance cover.
"These are the issues of transparency - the real issues - that shipping should be concerned about. The emphasis in current IMO and ILO deliberations should be on improved flag state standards and enforcement and better port state control of security at ports and in relation to cargo.
"LISCR has specific expertise to offer in two areas. On seafarers' ID, the
Liberian Registry is already the leader in the field with its extensive electronic database of seafarers, and is examining the use of biometrics for positive identity and qualification checking. In another area, LISCR is already working with security specialists in the development of an onboard security manual, and will be able to offer this to the IMO group preparing an international version."