International Registries, Inc. (IRI) was reportedly notified by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) that the Marshall Islands ship registry which IRI administers is the only major open registry to pass the Port State Control
(PSC) detention ratio test, which is a qualifying prerequisite for an award under the USCG's new QUALSHIP 21 program.
QUALSHIP 21, which came into effect on 1 January this year, provides incentives to reward high-quality vessels not under the U.S. flag. These range from a two-year certificate of compliance for tankers and less thorough mid-period exams, to two years of limited PSC oversight for freighters and public recognition for qualified passenger ships. Future incentives may include reduced port fees for vessels meeting additional quality standards.
Under the QUALSHIP 21 eligibility criteria, a vessel must be registered with a flag state that has a PSC detention ratio of no more than one third of the USGC's overall detention ratio, and have at least 10 distinct vessel arrivals in each of the previous three years. USCG records indicate that the Marshall Islands met this performance measure with a ratio of 0.81% in 1999. The preliminary estimated ratio in 2000 is 0.40% - just a quarter of the 1.68% allowable figure.
"The award will be of great benefit to owners of Marshall Islands vessels trading to the United States," Clay Maitland, a managing partner of International Registries said. "It vindicates our policy of striving to achieve a higher quality level in the ships that we accept into the Marshall Islands registry, as well as the thoroughness of our own safety inspection programs."