ICS Director External Relations, Simon Bennett explained “Our table is intended to encourage shipowners to maintain a dialogue with their flag administrations to effect any improvements that might be necessary in the interests of safety, the environment and decent working conditions.”
This year’s ICS table includes some new flag states which seem to be increasingly popular with some shipowners, such as Moldova and Sierra Leone, which join the ranks of flags such as Bolivia, Cambodia and Mongolia in being revealed by the table to have a somewhat patchy performance.
ICS stresses that the table includes what should be regarded only as potential positive indicators. There may be good reason why a flag is lacking one or two of these, especially if it has had too few port calls to gain a place on certain port state control ‘white lists’ or has not yet ratified one or two recently adopted international Conventions.
Mr Bennett remarked “The absence of a couple of positive indicators is probably not very important. But if a flag is lacking a large number of positive indicators then shipowners may want to ask serious questions.”
ICS is keen to emphasise that, in today’s modern global industry, distinctions between so called traditional flags and open registers are increasingly meaningless and actually unhelpful. The ICS table shows that many open registers like Liberia and the Bahamas are amongst the very top performers alongside several European registers, or flags such as Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, that might be expected to perform well.
In the same way that, through mechanisms such as the ISM Code, the shipping industry is committed to the concept of continuous improvement and transparency with respect to its performance, ICS believes that the same principles apply to the performance of flag administrations. ICS has therefore reiterated its support for the decision by IMO to make its Member State Audit Scheme mandatory.
The ICS Table uses information derived from the public domain as at June 2012.