According to the Chamber of Shipping's (ICS) latest Flag State Performance Table, the UK has no negative indicators against any of the 18 criteria ICS uses to assess performance.
The Maritime and Coast Guard Agency (MCA) says that 1,388 ships, with a gross tonnage of 16.11m, were on the UK Ship Register at the end of September and, according to Clarksons World Fleet Monitor, the UK's is the world's11th largest register. The average age of the UK fleet is 20 years.
ICS emphasised that in today’s global industry, distinctions between so-called 'traditional' flags and 'open registers' are increasingly meaningless and actually unhelpful. It said its table shows that flag states such as Liberia, Bahamas and the Marshall Islands are amongst the very top performers alongside many European and Asian flags such as Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore that might be expected to perform very well.
ICS director external relations, Simon Bennett, explained: “The ICS table is intended to encourage shipowners to maintain a dialogue with their flag administrations to help bring about any improvements that might be necessary in the interests of safety, the environment and decent working conditions.”
Following the entry into force of the ILO Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) in August 2013, the latest ICS table now requires flag states to have ratified the ILO MLC in order to receive a positive indicator.
In the same way that the shipping industry is committed to the concept of continuous improvement and transparency with respect to its performance, through mechanisms such as external auditing under the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, ICS believes that the same principles apply to the performance of flag administrations. ICS therefore reiterates its support for the decision by IMO to make its Member State Audit Scheme mandatory.
“ICS member national shipowners’ associations will be looking at ways in which we might take account of this important development in future updates of the table,” added Simon Bennett.
Source ICS/Maritime London