Japanese owners flock to The Marshall Islands

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Japanese ship owners have committed 35 vessels totaling 1.5 million gross tons to the Marshall Islands flag so far in 2009 meaning that, in total, Asian ship owners will contribute some 2.8 million gross tons this year with 750,000 gross tons from Korea and 500,000 gross tons from China.

The Marshall Islands fleet has grown by 30% a year, on average, for the last five years and has been the world’s fourth largest registry since 2005. As of 30 April 2009, the Marshall Islands fleet comprised more than 2,000 vessels at 49.2 million gross tons and is expected to surpass the 50 million gross ton mark by the year’s end.

“Despite a difficult year for the shipping industry we are pleased with the support we are receiving from Japanese owners who are looking to the Marshall Islands as the open registry of choice,” said Bill Gallagher, President of International Registries, Inc.

“Japan is leading the Asian region in terms of the number of vessels registering with the Marshall Islands flag. The decentralisation of the offices means owners in Japan are supported by maritime professionals, with technical, marine safety, security and investigation expertise, backed by strong regional and global networks,” said Annie Ng, Managing Director of International Registries (Far East) Limited.

As part of the decentralisation process, the regional headquarters in Hong Kong has been able to issue a Certificate of Receipt of Application (CRA) and check the status of a seafarer’s application. Further decentralisation has recently taken place which now enables the Hong Kong office to process applications and issue not only CRAs, but also Officer Certificates, Seafarer Identification and Record Books (SIRBs) and Special Qualification Certificates for Asian owners/operators.

The Marshall Island’s Registry recently opened offices in Houston, Dubai and Istanbul taking the worldwide network to 20 offices.