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The Marshall Islands Registry: Safe Operations = Successful Operations

A top priority for all shipowners, operators, managers, and crews is the safety of the crew, vessel, and cargo. Data collected through global port State control (PSC) inspections indicate that deficiencies in safety equipment, procedures, and the failure to report non-conformities are all frequent causes of detentions.

PSC detentions cost time and money and can result in significant damage to the vessel and company’s ability to attain successful charters. Yet all too often we see that ships are detained for easily avoidable deficiencies.

In a bid to tackle this problem head-on, member authorities of the Paris and Tokyo Memorandums of Understanding on PSC will be conducting a joint Concentrated Inspection Campaign on emergency systems and procedures. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is also continuing to carry out focused campaigns targeting safety-related issues and the full implementation of Safety Management Systems (SMS).

According to the USCG’s 2018 Annual Report, the top 50% of detentions by deficiency type across all vessel types were attributed to firefighting appliances/fire safety (22%), followed by certificates/logbooks (16%), and finally SMSs (12%). To understand these statistics, it is important to look deeper.

Brian Poskaitis

Brian Poskaitis, Senior Vice President, Fleet Operations, explains:

Easily preventable deficiencies can cause delays and/or detentions even for quality vessels helmed by competent and experienced crews. As a quality flag, we understand the pressures that owners and crews face. Common deficiencies picked up by PSC authorities can be easily avoided if reported and addressed in accordance with the vessel’s SMS. The involvement of flag State authorities early in the process will help alleviate issues upon the vessel’s arrival into port.

After all, problems happen, but early action and transparency can prevent delays and avoid deficiencies and detentions. This is particularly true with issues relating to SMSs.

To that end, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) has a robust marine safety program which is focused on facilitating compliance and assisting owners, operators, and crews in meeting international and domestic safety, security, and environmental protection regulations, and supporting owners, operators, and crews with compliance in preparing for PSC examinations. This global marine safety program is led by a team of highly experienced and well-versed managers and nautical inspectors, who take a hands-on approach to active oversight of the safety of the RMI fleet.

International Registries, Inc. and its affiliates (IRI) dedicates considerable resources to continuously tracking and monitoring the RMI fleet using a complex matrix of composite data. Flag State inspection performance, PSC history, operator performance, and several other factors such as vessel age, build, and cargoes carried are important data points that go into the matrix. Where deemed necessary, real-time vetting is conducted, and port and flag State expectations are communicated directly to RMI vessel operators prior to arrival in a port.

The RMI team also works closely with the operator and crew to help them maintain real-time compliance. The team may also engage in a Quality Control Boarding (QCB), which includes personal interaction with the master and crew, and testing of critical equipment. A QCB may be requested at any time, and often reveals valuable information to owners and operators for a small investment. This spirit of working together ensures that RMI-flagged vessels and crews are not merely in substantial compliance with all applicable regulations, but also that the senior officers and crew are confident in demonstrating their knowledge and procedures when going through a PSC inspection.

Poskaitis continued:

We provide value through our hands-on support, in real time, through our global team. For example, the crew’s completion of the Critical Items Checklist prior to arrival in port serves to enhance their confidence and ability in demonstrating compliance to port officials and prevents delays due to an equipment failure or lack of preparation.

Anticipating issues, communicating problems, and working with stakeholders to develop viable solutions for rectifying issues, are some of the support roles we provide. Most importantly, our job is to do all we can to ensure that safety, crew welfare, security, and environmental protection remain at the forefront of every decision made both on board and around the boardroom table.

To find out more about the RMI marine safety program or to schedule a QCB, contact [email protected].
Source: IRI/The Marshall Islands Registry

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