Cover Story: ‘AI’ – All-seeing or shipping’s game changer?

‘All flags are not alike’

“Our role is to ensure that the ships and the ship owners are complying with international regulation, but we have to do it in a way that does not inhibit their ability to service the needs of global transportation,” Mr Bergeron said.

This was a point underlined by Alfonso Castillero, Chief Commercial Officer at the Registry, who said it was a balancing game to make the industry safe and reliable yet flexible enough to meet the demands of the industry.

“When it comes to the effectiveness of your internal regulation, you need to make sure it is sufficiently strong so you can protect and comply with what you have to protect and comply with internationally. We believe we are the most technologically advanced flag state there is and, in terms of the regulatory framework, we are always one step ahead of the market. We are already working in areas such as alternative sources of energy, electronic oil books and cyber security and new vessel designs,” he added.

The Liberian Registry – the second largest in the world – includes more than 4,200 vessels aggregating 152 million gross tons, representing 12% of the world’s ocean-going fleet. As the world’s largest quality registry, the Liberian Maritime Programme is renowned for excellence, efficiency, safety and innovative service. Likewise, the Liberian Registry is recognised at the top of every industry “white-list” including the International Maritime Organization and the major Port State Control authorities such as the US Coast Guard as well as the Paris and Tokyo MOU regimes.

The Liberian Registry is administered by the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR, LLC), a private US-owned and globally operated company. LISCR is internationally recognised for its professionalism and commitment to reducing redundant workflow procedures in order to increase efficiency. Its mission is to keep Liberian-flag ships operating as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible, whilst in compliance with all international regulations and legislation.

Since LISCR assumed management responsibility of the Registry in 2000, the total number of ships has increased from 1,690 vessels to 4,200 vessels, and the total gross tonnage from 63 million gross tons to 152 million gross tons.

According to Mr Bergeron, the Registry is managed by industry professionals who understand the business of shipping and corporate

structures. Its proficient administration is one of the most effective and tax efficient ship and corporate registries in the world. Liberia believes in investing in people who know and understand the industry and who can identify the areas where Liberia can help. It does not believe in outsourcing work to others which it believes it can do better itself.

The Liberian Registry has built a global infrastructure of support and provides 24-hour service to its ship owners and managers anytime and anywhere in the world. In addition to its full-service regional offices located in the major maritime centres of the world, the Liberian Registry is the first and so far, the only major open registry to have trained a worldwide network of more than 400 Nautical Inspectors and qualified Auditors. It provides convenient, efficient and cost-effective certification services to ship owners with the option of Liberia’s unique ‘Harmonised Audit Program’ which includes the Annual Flag State Inspection, ISM, ISPS and MLC, 2006 requirements.

The Liberian Registry, headquartered in Vienna, Virginia (outside Washington, D.C.), maintains offices located around the world, including Dubai, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Houston, Istanbul, London, Monrovia, New York, Ningbo, Panama City, Piraeus, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Tianjin, Tokyo and Zurich.

So, what is Liberia’s vision for the future? Mr Bergeron again: “We are committed to upholding Liberia’s status as the highest quality international ship register, while also ensuring that we retain our competitive edge as a shipping regulator. These objectives will be achieved through our consistently professional approach, and via our ongoing commitment to investing in technological innovation to continually enhance delivery of service for our clients.

“The best ship registries are those which can demonstrate major growth while retaining a position at the top of all independently monitored safety league tables – Liberia is such a Registry. As the Liberian Registry continues to improve the quality of its maritime program, we are confident that our market share will continue to grow. However, we refuse to focus exclusively on market share at the expense of the quality of our programme. Our first and foremost priority will continue to be the ‘gold standard’ in the industry, making Liberia the registry of choice for responsible ship owners worldwide,” he said.

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