Bill Gallagher, President, International Registries, Inc.(IRI) shares his thoughts on the continuing growth of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Registry, the challenges of ballast water management regulations and the importance of Qualship 21.
Ballast Water Management (BWM) is on everyone’s minds at the moment. Listening to the questions posed by industry stakeholders at our seminar on BWM regulations in London this November, it was clear to me that the industry needs practical answers, fast.
To ensure owners’ collective BWM concerns are dealt with and clearly heard at the International Maritime Organization
(IMO), we have a dedicated BWM team, led by Simon Bonnet, Safety & Technical Manager (London), Richard Dias, Regional Technical Manager (Hong Kong), Rear Admiral Robert North, United States Coast
Guard (Retired)/Consultant (Washington, DC/Reston), and Thanos Theocharis, Regulatory Affairs, European Liaison (Piraeus), he said.
They are able to give advice on any issues owners might have and are backed by well-resourced technical teams in our regional offices.
I am especially proud of the RMI’s status as the only large commercial flag on the United States (US) Coast Guard’s (USCG’s) Qualship 21 Program, Bill said.
The Qualship 21 standard is tremendously difficult to meet, reflected in 13 out of 26 flags being dropped from the roster in March 2016.
The RMI’s retention on Qualship 21 is the result of resourcing the boots on the deck program where the RMI Registry has more exclusive inspectors than other registries, keeping our in-house standards high, and ensuring vessels are prepared for USCG inspections.
The RMI’s Qualship 21 status and White List status on the Paris and Tokyo Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) means that RMI flagged ships are greeted amicably by port State control (PSC) Officers all over the world. The status is also indicative of the quality of our fleet and its owners and operators.
The RMI fleet is young, vibrant, and green. At the end of December 2016, the 4,011 vessels in our fleet had an average age of 8.55 years. We are constantly impressed by the standards of our owners and operators, and through close cooperation with them we are able to keep their ships moving and trading.