Bill Gallagher, President, International Registries, Inc. (IRI) explains how the Republic of the Marshall Islands Registry is providing practical support in shipping’s focus on sustainability
Innovation, green technology, future-proof solutions. Have any of us attended a conference lately without these items on the agenda? The global economy has begun to pivot, somewhat universally, toward sustainability initiatives. But sustainability, innovation, and forward-thinking ideas are something that the Marshall Islands fleet has been focused on for more than a decade. I’m proud to say that the Marshall Islands has the youngest and greenest fleet on Earth. As reported by Clarksons Research’s World Fleet Monitor’s August 2020 issue, at an average overall age of 9.2 years, our fleet is more than 2 years younger than our nearest large competitor. While the Marshall Islands has attained Qualship21 status for an unprecedented 16 years, Liberia and Panama find themselves precariously perched on the United States Coast Guard’s targeted flag list.
IRI is providing the vital role of stepping up and providing guidance, insight, and support to a range of projects that have the potential to reduce humankind’s impact on our fragile planet. We have invested in a global network of expertise that the industry can call upon. The quality of our people is second to none. Class is, of course, a key resource on technical issues, but the flag State should also have technical and operational expertise. Part of our responsibility is to have expertise for each vessel in our fleet.
Increasingly, it’s not just doing the right thing that’s important to shipowners, but demonstrating that you’re doing the right thing. The number of Environmental Social Governance (ESG) reports published by owners has grown, as investors, charterers, and other stakeholders expect shipping companies to develop long-term sustainable business practices. Capital is flowing from investors to companies that can demonstrate that not only are they profitable, they also run an ethical, green, and sustainable business. A wide range of metrics, including air emissions, safety statistics, employment practices, and business ethics, are reported on in great detail.
Any charterer or investor who is looking at the quality of a potential shipping partner can be confident that a Marshall Islands-registered vessel has been vetted, that its crew has undergone trade compliance screening, and that the geographical positions of vessels are closely monitored through Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) and Automatic Identification Systems (AIS), which provide notifications of any calls at embargoed ports. At the same time, all Marshall Islands-flagged vessels’ crew and managers are provided with the practical support needed to run safely and efficiently.
That’s not a boast every flag can make.