The Liberian Registry has introduced a sophisticated programme to screen advance notice of ship arrivals as part of a detention prevention plan to help maintain its independent ranking among the safest and most efficient ship registries in the world.
The overall objective is to maintain and strengthen the already excellent safety record of the Liberian flag, and to further reduce detention rates, especially in Australia, China, the EU and the United States.
Liberia’s Advanced Notices of Arrival and Zone Notification schemes build on the mandatory IMO Long-Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) system introduced in 2009, under which all flag states are required to ensure their flagged vessels transmit their location. The objective is to be proactive in terms of preventing a vessel detention by Port State Control or by other inspection bodies. The schemes are designed to increase awareness on the part of shipowners and operators with a view to ensuring compliance with international requirements governing safety, security and environmental protection.
All Liberian vessels calling at US, EU, Australian and Chinese ports must provide an Advanced Notice of Arrival (ANOA), which can be used by the Liberian administration to assess the probability of a PSC boarding. Thereafter, appropriate steps can be taken if necessary to prevent a detention. Under Liberia’s Zone Notification programme, meanwhile, if the Liberian administration has not received an ANOA from vessels entering LRIT zones which Liberia has established around the US, China, Australia and the Paris MoU countries, it can use their LRIT notification system to assess the probability of a PSC boarding, and take appropriate steps where necessary.
Scott Bergeron, CEO of the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR), the US-based manager of the Liberian Registry, says, “In the interests of both safety and commercial expediency, we are committed to minimising the number of Liberian-flag ships placed under detention. We are proactive at all times, with the intention of preventing deficiencies and detentions rather than responding to them. In addition to our ANOA and Zone Notifications programmes, we inform shipowners and operators of PSC Concentrated Inspection Campaigns (CICs) and recommend action where necessary. Ship’s masters are very busy when preparing to enter port. The point is to provide the master and the shore staff with timely and relevant information to help ensure compliance with regulations during periods of increased onboard activity. Based on feedback from the various MoUs, Liberian-flagged ships have performed very well during the CICs.
“We also contact PSC directly when there is an issue or a misunderstanding, and appeal detentions where they are considered unwarranted. We conduct ongoing initiatives designed to decrease detention rates, and to increase awareness of what is required in order to comply with international requirements.
“Prior to arrival for every vessel, we use an innovative risk analysis tool that we have developed to calculate whether a particular vessel may be a high target for PSC boarding. Subjective risk criteria cover both the ship and the company, drawing on PSC deficiency and detention histories. If we have concerns that a vessel may not be in compliance, we have several proactive support services that will be implemented.
“Our goal is to ensure that Liberian-flag ships are in compliance with all applicable international regulations covering safety, security and the environment. Our objective is to continually improve and strengthen the excellent safety record enjoyed by the Liberian flag.”