Bill Gallagher, President, IRI, reflects on how a changing industry has created an opportunity for growth.
As we start the third quarter of 2018, it’s important to look back and see how far the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Registry has come and to look ahead at what we still have left to accomplish. Last year, the RMI Registry reached a huge milestone, becoming the second largest ship registry in the world, a position we continue to hold. The June 2018 Clarksons Research World Fleet Monitor reflects that our fleet is not only the second largest, but also the youngest, with an average age of 8.3 years. This is due to the large number of newbuilds which have consistently registered in the RMI. Over the past five years, approximately 50% of all vessels registered in the RMI have been newbuilds. The RMI Registry is globally recognized as the preeminent registry in terms of quality and service, factors we consider essential to our success. With continued fleet growth and our expert worldwide personnel, we are confident we can meet and overcome the challenges of the years ahead.
What sets us apart from other registries is our local presence and the close relationships this creates within the local shipping communities worldwide. By giving our owners and operators the ability to contact an experienced member of our team to handle issues in their own language and during their working hours, we can help solve problems in a timely manner and avoid costly delays. The RMI Registry has 28 offices in major shipping and financial centers around the world. Our most recently opened office in Busan, Republic of Korea, shows our commitment to the growing South Korean shipowning market. Our Busan office is able to support shipowners in their cooperation with Korean shipyards, as well as monitor the trading and port State control (PSC) performance of the ships in North Asian waters.
One of the most important aspects of any registry is its culture surrounding safety, security, and environmental protection. The quality vessels that make up the RMI Registry’s fleet reflect this culture and the commitment of owners and operators that value the same. The RMI has the best PSC record of any major open registry and is the only one of the top three flags to hold Qualship 21 status. The RMI has achieved significant fleet growth year over year for the past 15 years, while at the same time maintaining its Qualship 21 status for 14 consecutive years and improving its position on the White Lists of both the Paris and Tokyo Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs). Furthermore, the Green Award recently updated its list of participating vessels; the list shows RMI flagged vessels representing nearly 16% of the Green Awarded vessels worldwide. These accolades are testament to the commitment of the RMI Registry and its owners and operators towards safety, security, and pollution prevention on their vessels.
The RMI’s outstanding PSC record is even more impressive when you take a look at the recent increase in new regulations coming into effect in the industry. One of the biggest issues in the shipping community today is the 2020 global fuel oil sulphur standard. We know how important it is for our owners and operators to have a voice in these discussions, and a recent concern raised at our Blue Water Vessel Advisory Group (BWVAG) meeting was the safety implications associated with the consistent implementation of regulation 14.1.3 of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) Annex VI. These discussions resulted in the submission of a paper to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) that addressed these safety concerns and assisted the IMO’s Intersessional Working Group (ISWG) in developing guidelines on this regulation. The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) will consider aspects of the ISWG’s report addressing measures for ship implementation planning and the outcome of discussions on these safety issues will be further reported for consideration by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) at their next sessions later this year.
The BWVAG is an advisory group within the RMI’s larger Marshall Islands Quality Council (MIQC), a consultative group made up of a diverse range of industry experts that provides advice and guidance to the RMI Registry in the development of rules and regulations that shape the industry and improve the quality of the RMI Registry’s operations. We value the feedback of the MIQC, our owners and operators, and the larger maritime community as we work with global organizations to improve the safety and environmental awareness of the shipping industry.
We pride ourselves on our ability to provide timely professional services through our robust team of worldwide experts so that the RMI fleet can continue to trade without delay. We will continue to strengthen our existing offices and presence globally to provide the highest level of service that owners and operators require.
Technological developments, new regulations, and global economic concerns all contribute to an industry that is constantly changing and reinventing itself to fit new needs. The RMI Registry is uniquely positioned to respond to this ever-changing environment with innovation that goes above and beyond our owners’ expectations. We will continue to grow, continue to meet these challenges head on, while never losing sight of our roots, the people who make it happen. Our work is never done, and we look forward to leading the way as the industry forges its path in the modern world.