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Flag State Performance Table

BASED ON the MOST UP TO DATE DATA AVAILABLE AS OF the start of December 2014

GREEN squares suggest positive performance indicators, with potentially negative performance highlighted by RED squares (although individual indicators should be considered within the context of the Table as a whole).

For additional information about the criteria used see footnotes overleaf.

Port state control

A simple means of assessing the effective enforcement of international rules is to examine the collective Port State Control record of ships flying a particular flag.

The three principal Port State Control (PSC) authorities are the countries of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the Tokyo MOU and the United States Coast Guard (USCG). All three authorities target particular flags on the basis of deficiencies and detentions recorded for ships flying that flag. The Table identifies flag states that feature on the Paris and Tokyo MOUs’ white lists and that have fully qualified for the USCG’S Qualship 21 program, and those which do not appear on their respective black lists/target lists. Ships whose flag states do not appear on PSC white lists tend to be subject to a greater likelihood of inspections.

The Table now also identifies those flags whose ships suffered no detentions within a particular PSC region over the previous three years, but did not meet the relevant minimum requirement of inspections or arrivals to be included in the MOU white lists/ Qualship 21 program. In order to be identified in this way with respect to the Paris and Tokyo MOU white lists, a flag must have undergone at least one inspection in the previous three years. With the respect to the Qualship 21 program, a flag must have made at least three distinct arrivals in each of the previous three years. This is in alignment with the with the way in which PSC authorities present this information.

The full criteria for PSC are explained in the footnotes to the Table.

Ratification of major international maritime treaties

Ratification of international maritime Conventions does not necessarily confirm whether the provisions of these global instruments are being properly enforced. However, a flag state should be able to provide good reason for not having ratified any of the instruments referred to in the Table.

The Table refers to those ‘core’ Conventions, relevant to flag state responsibilities, which already enjoy widespread ratification and enforcement. The full criteria for the Conventions listed are shown in the footnotes to the Table.

Use of Recognized Organizations complying with A.739

IMO Resolution A.739 requires flag states to establish controls over Recognized Organizations (ROs) conducting survey work on their behalf, and which determine that these bodies have adequate resources for the tasks assigned. There are no published data for determining whether each of the various ROs conducting survey work on behalf of flag states complies with IMO Resolution A.739. For the purpose of this Table, however, it is assumed that members of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) comply.

Nevertheless, there are several other organisations that are not members of IACS that also fully meet the standards required by IMO, and the fact that a flag administration might recognise a non-IACS member does not mean that the flag is in any way deficient. However, if a flag state recognises large numbers of organisations that are not IACS members, there might be reason to doubt whether all of the bodies conducting surveys on behalf of the flag state actually comply with IMO requirements.

The Table therefore positively indicates flags that recognise no more than six ROs that are not members of IACS (and which have submitted their RO data to IMO in line with A.739).

Age of fleet

A high concentration of older tonnage under a particular flag does not necessarily mean that this tonnage is in any way substandard. However, a flag which has a concentration of younger ships is more likely to attract quality tonnage than a flag state with a high concentration of older vessels. As a positive indicator, the Table therefore shows the 90% of flags whose ships have the lowest average age, amongst those listed, in terms of ship numbers. The above notwithstanding, it is strongly emphasised that the position of ICS is that the age of an individual ship is not an indicator of quality, and that the condition of an individual ship is ultimately determined by the standard of its maintenance.

Reporting requirements

To encourage implementation of international instruments, there are various reporting requirements, both mandatory and recommendatory, concerning the submission of information by flag states to bodies such as IMO and ILO. Information covering the extent to which flags have complied with certain reporting requirements is not always available in the public domain. However, as an indicator, the Table shows flags that have submitted compliance and practice reports required by ILO.

The Table also records flags that have submitted adequate reports of independent evaluations to IMO confirming continuing compliance with the STCW Convention. IMO is not expected to publish data about the submission of reports demonstrating compliance with STCW 2010 until at least 2015. This year’s Table therefore records whether a flag has submitted sufficient information to appear on the original STCW ‘white list’ as required by STCW 95.

Attendance at IMO meetings

Although in itself not an indicator of their safety and environmental record, flag states that attend the major IMO meetings (Maritime Safety Committee, Marine Environment Protection Committee and Legal Committee) are thought more likely to be seriously committed to the implementation and enforcement of IMO rules.

Attendance at these meetings is also important to keep abreast of regulatory developments. The Table identifies flag states that have been represented at all meetings of these three major IMO committees, plus the biennial meeting of the IMO Assembly, during the two years previous to December 2014.