A web-based global fleet database aimed
at shining a searchlight on unsafe shipping was launched last week by the European Union
, with Asian and U.S. input. The Equasis site provides a three-year safety history of about 60,000 ships based on information from port authorities, insurers, vessel surveyors, unions and ship-owner organizations, chairman director Phillipe Marchand said.
But the ambitious plan to help shippers identify good from bad vessels still has some shortcomings, according to its developers. Further information on the human element in maritime accidents is required and the EU is looking into a proposal to allow charterers who hire vessels that are detained to be named.
A decision on whether to include information on ship accidents has also to be made. Information on vessel detention is currently supplied by European nations involved in an agreement to police their ports by targeting suspect ships for inspection. The U.S. Coast Guard and Japan will provide similar data for their regions.