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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
17/07/17 11:58

Palau responding to reject its ‘banning’

The small but growing registry, moved from the Grey to the Black list by the Paris MoU committee as of July 1st, criticizes the way the current system is structured

“My own registry was moved to Black List this month (July) which whilst I understand it’s a process of maturity, it really is an unbearable burden for a new registry trying to grow and establish its credentials” starts the explanatory respond made to Ship2Shore by Panos Kirnidis, CEO of Palau International Ship Registry (PISR), to the fact that Palau Registry was moved from the Grey to the Black list by the Paris MoU committee as of July 1st 2017. “We know the rules and we accept them. We have the highest standards of diligence and support for our fleet yet due to various reasons a small proportion of our vessels are detained. But for us a small number results in us being in the black list whilst larger registers are not affected in the same way. This is because of the way current system is structured, through a mathematical formula without any weighting mechanism. The reality is that you need a large number of vessels to avoid being downgraded”.

The Hellenic manager- in fact Palau Registry’s European branch is settled in Piraeus, Greece – adds that “for a small registry like Palau growing its vessel base, if we have one detention we need 19 others to avoid its negative effect; this is hard when you have a small fleet to achieve. But to grow our vessel base we need to gain the confidence of shipowners and managers and this is made harder when you find ourselves in the black list forming a vicious cycle, so even though our services and credentials can be ranked as among the finest in the industry we find ourselves not in an even playing field. It is a process we are working through and will enable  enal show we are a diligent and highly responsible registry. A change to the way the formulas are used  enal is a system highly weighted against new registries. There is an inevitability of being placed on a blacklist that concerns me and maybe why a change is needed”.

Kirnidis pinpoints that “the performance of a Flag is based on the ratio of total number of inspections and detentions over a rolling 3-year period for flags, with at least 30 inspections taking place in that period. But during the  process of growing a fleet any new registry will be at a disadvantage when any detentions are recorded; a smaller fleet means a lower number of inspections which can result in a higher ratio of detentions. This means that the new registry cannot attract newer vessels having been placed onto the Black List, and then a vicious circle continues. We have detailed, strict and comprehensive inspections to achieve the highest standards. But this all  takes time  and we have no intention in plunging into a quantity over quality issue and failing to meet our own exacting standards. This is a planned progression with markers along the way; we need to grow commercially and maintain standards but at the same time maintain a quality fleet of vessels. Palau is a progressive registry embracing new technology as this is going to be the way forward for the industry. In 2017 we launched the Deficiency Prevention System (DPS) as part of its certified ISO 9001:2015 standards. DPS is a unique and solely designed and developed by Palau International Ship Registry. We have a dedicated in-house DPS department with salaried technical experienced personnel monitoring the location and destination of the Palau flagged vessels and analysing with over 93% confidence, their risk performance. The monitoring and screening occurs without  disturbing  the ship owner or manager until the point that PISR contacts them and informs about a high-risk indication for inspection and imposed deficiencies. At this point PISR appoints a Flag State Inspector – without a charge to the shipowner – to attend the ship to carry out a preparedness survey. We are there to look at the ship, through physical attendance, not just chasing paper correctness. DPS focuses on the deficiency prevention not just the detention and it is a tremendous adding value service and differentiates PISR from any other Registry in the world.

All this adds up to a registry that is not cutting corners or sailing under any radar but is a growing flag that is offering the highest standards of technology, inspections and support. What we are suffering from at this level is an unequal fight with a formula and system that penalises us for simply entering the industry and trying to grow!”complains the CEO of Palau International Ship Registry in conclusion of his defense.

The international maritime administrative organization Paris MoU committee - founded in 1982 and gathering 27 maritime authorities - placed Palau (and Vanuatu) in its Black List, its lowest possible grade used for flag states with a poor performance, after both countries collectively shared over 50 detentions on Port State Control over the 2016 period. With Palau and Vanuatu joining the Cook Islands, Pacific nations now make up a quarter of the Black List.

Looking at the Paris MoU White, Grey and Black Lists, overall situation regarding the quality of shipping seems to be stabilizing; although some flag States have changed lists, the total amount of 42 flags on the White List is similar to 2015 (43).

Over past three years most ships have been banned for multiple detentions (46) and 5 ships have been banned a second time, while 5 ships were banned for failing to call at an indicated repair yard. The flags of the Republic of Moldova, the United Republic of Tanzania and Togo have recorded the highest number of bannings.

This year there were no new entries to the White List; the Republic of Korea moved down to the Grey List; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines moved up to the Grey List.

In 2016 there were 12 flags on the Black List (11 in 2015), with the Republic of the Congo having the worst performance.

After a slight decrease of total number of inspections in 2015 to 17,877 the number has decreased again very slightly in 2016 to 17,840. Since 2011 average detention percentage had slightly increased annually until 2013 (3.78%), after which a significant decrease has been recorded for 2014 (3.38%) with a same level in 2015 (3.41%). This year an increase to 3.83% has been recorded. The level of detainable deficiencies is increasing as well to 3,769, a 7.3% increase compared to 2015. Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Russian Federation, Germany and France contributed most to the overall inspection in terms of percentage, together collecting over 51%. High Risk Ships have been operating mostly in the southern part of the region, while Low Risk Ships have been calling in the north-western part of the region.

With 1,213 inspections and 227 detentions the ships flying a Black listed flag score a detention rate of 18.7%, which is considerably higher than the 11.2% in 2015 and 11.7% in 2014. For ships flying a Grey listed flag, the detention rate is 5.5%, significantly lower than 8.6% in 2015. For ships flying a White listed flag, detention rate is 2.6% which is at same level as 2015 (2.5%) and 2014 (2.4%).

The 5 most frequently recorded deficiencies in 2016 were ISM (4.4%, 1,838), fire doors/openings in fire-resisting divisions (2.6%, 1,078), nautical publications (2.5%, 1,049), charts (2.2%, 922) and oil record book (1.7%, 706).


Angelo Scorza

Angelo Scorza