The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Registry is pleased to announce the award of Qualship 21 status by the United States (US) Coast Guard (USCG) to 30 bulk carriers owned and operated by Star Bulk Carriers Corp.
The Qualship 21 program provides positive rewards to high quality ships and can only be awarded to vessels sailing under a qualifying flag. The RMI Registry is one of only a handful of ship registries to have less than a 1.0% three-year detention ratio in the US and is the only large commercial flag to maintain Qualship 21 status through 2016. During 2015, 12 flag administrations lost Qualship 21 eligibility due to their three-year detention ratio exceeding 1.0%.
Commenting on the award, Rear Admiral Paul Thomas of the USCG said:
“Less than 10% of all non-US flagged vessels that operate in the US meet the eligibility requirements of this program, putting Star Bulk ships in an elite class. This is a remarkable accomplishment and I applaud the efforts of your masters and crew of your vessels for setting such a high standard of excellence.”
Star Bulk’s vessels have been flagged in the RMI since 2006. International Registries, Inc. and its affiliates (IRI) provide administrative and technical support to the RMI Maritime and Corporate Registries and have been actively engaged with Star Bulk through its Piraeus office which is managed by Theo Xenakoudis.
“Being awarded Qualship 21 status is good news not only for us, but for our charterers,” said Star Bulk. “Our ships have been recognized as well-run and rewarded with limited port State control inspections in the US during their Qualship 21 certification period; fewer inspections means a lower likelihood of unnecessary delays and we’re grateful to the IRI team for all their assistance in the process,” he concluded.
“We believe that ships on the Qualship 21 program gain a significant competitive advantage in the USA. Whilst ships registered to other large flag states such as Liberia, Panama and the Bahamas do not qualify for Qualship, vessels under the Marshall Islands flag can apply for the scheme,” said Bill Gallagher, President, IRI.
“Star Bulk is a top tier Greek bulk carrier owner and we’re delighted that they are one of many RMI flagged shipping companies to have their vessels awarded the certification,” he continued.
“Our Piraeus office along with the other 26 worldwide offices have worked hand-in-hand with Star Bulk to ensure that their vessels meet stringent port State control requirements not just in the US, but globally,” said Theo Xenakoudis, Worldwide Business Operations Manager, IRI. “Much of this is down to our proactive Maritime Safety program; a hands-on approach to help ensure that RMI ships flagged meet the required standards,” Mr. Xenakoudis concluded.
The RMI Registry has been on the USCG’s Qualship 21 program for 12 consecutive years and continues to maintain its status on the White Lists of the Paris and Tokyo Memorandums of Understanding.