When International Registries, Inc., and its affiliates (IRI), opened the Busan office in 2017, it was the first full-service foreign flag office to open in the city. Recognizing the importance of Busan to the region, not only as one of the busiest ports in the world, but also as a regional center of business and operations, IRI expanded Registry resources to the region to provide full-service flag services in local time and has expanded those services every year since.
“The industry followed our lead, expanding direct in-country support and services in Busan. Our leadership and commitment to the local industry and regional growth is signified by our relationships, partnerships, and cooperative projects with local stakeholders, authorities, and clients,” said Tom Blenk, Representative of IRI’s Busan office.
The Busan office focused on introducing direct local services to the Korean market, with the first priority for direct local services being technical and inspection support. Today, the Busan team conducts approximately 300 local inspections per year including flag State and International Safety Management Code to International Ship and Port Facility Security Code audits and Maritime Labour Convention 2006 inspections. Additionally, the office also performs Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance Part II and Ship Security Plan approvals, while also supporting other RMI Registry related activities.
“IRI has significant inspection resources throughout Asia, however, we received overwhelmingly positive feedback when the Busan office offered direct, local technical and inspections resources in 2017,” said Tom. He continued, “many of our team members are multi-faceted and have previous experience from shipyards, ship management, owner/operators, classification societies, and maritime universities, among others. The demand for our local inspections team continues to grow every year and the Registry has been expanding and adding strategic resources to support the needs of our local owners and operators.”
With the evolving emphasis on decarbonization and alternative energies, IRI codified both a Gas Team and a Renewables Team with resources worldwide, which includes several members from the Busan office. The teams provide support and services to projects and clients worldwide ranging from newbuilds to development projects. With Korea’s emphasis on decarbonization and leadership in developing future forward designs that incorporate alternative energies, these teams have consulted and advised on many local projects related to wind, green fuels, and environmental sustainability. These projects serve not only to benefit local clients, but also the greater industry, providing technical insight, developing technical expertise, and offering a platform for further cooperation and coordination. \Tom noted, “Busan is a center for innovative shipbuilding and design. Our local team works closely with our partners and stakeholders in Korea to advise and support on the regulatory requirements of new designs, equipment, and materials.”
IRI’s commitment to Busan is evidenced by the involvement of senior leadership. In November 2021, Clay Maitland, Managing Partner, IRI visited the office to meet with Korean shipowners and shipyard Chief Executive Officers.
“IRI’s senior leadership has really been a force behind our ability to expand services and client support in Busan. From the managing partners like Bill Gallagher and Clay Maitland, to global leaders like Theo Xenakoudis that have come to visit our office, IRI’s leadership has been instrumental in orchestrating our growth. Management recognizes the importance of Busan to the global shipping market and are continuously adapting to the changing market and environment to provide the highest level of client service and support.”
“Our fleet includes many vessels built in Korean shipyards and we have strong relationships with the maritime industry throughout Korea thanks to our Busan and Seoul offices,” said Theo Xenakoudis, IRI’s Chief Commercial Officer. “I look forward to working with our teams in Korea to continue to strengthen our resources and relationships in the country,” he concluded.