The Liberian Registry announced the introduction of a range of cost-saving provisions which it said will help mitigate the burden and financial strain currently being placed on owners and operators of Liberian-flag vessels during the sustained economic downturn in the maritime and offshore sectors.
The provisions are set out in Marine Operations Notes 02-2016 and 03-2016 recently released by the Liberian Maritime Authority to owners and operators of Liberian and non-Liberian flag vessels, as well as financial institutions and legal advisers. They cover a range of operational expenses with potential for cost-savings as well as advice that will reduce flag state expenses.
The guidance also includes the facility to waive initial certification and mortgage-related fees for registration transactions in Liberia, as well as fees for the reissuance of ISM and ISPS certificates for vessels transferring into the Registry.
Other provisions covered by the Liberian Registry initiative include the potential to extend vessel drydock periods, the option to harmonize ISM/ISPS audits with annual safety inspections, and free access to an electronic seafarer certification and documentation system.
The cost-savings measures also embrace specific provisions relating to vessels entering lay-up, and the facilitation of operational measures to ensure safe and secure removal of the vessel from service. These provisions are available to vessels currently in service, vessels currently under construction and vessels transferred from other flag administrations for the purpose of lay-up. In this regard, guidelines and procedures have also been developed by the Liberian Registry to address safe manning levels, lay-up procedures and inspection intervals.
Scott Bergeron, CEO of the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR), the U.S.-based manager of the Liberian Registry, said, “We believe it is essential to support the shipping industry during these extremely difficult times. The initiatives we have announced supplement those cost-efficiency measures which are already available to Liberian-flag vessels.”
“Other benefits enjoyed by Liberian-flag vessels include favorable treatment when calling at Chinese ports. This follows the recent historic Agreement on Maritime Transport between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of Liberia, under which Liberian flag vessels will be charged a preferential rate for tonnage dues when visiting any port in China. The preferential rate saving equates to a 28 percent discount for each vessel’s tonnage dues,” Bergeron continued
“With just a little innovative thinking, it is possible for ship registries to anticipate problems before they occur, in the process saving owners and operators both time and money. We believe these latest measures will help achieve those objectives.”