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Cayman Islands Shipping Attains US 'Qualship21' Standard

by Leroy Baker, Tax-News.com, New York

02 August 2007


The United States Coast Guard (USCG) recently awarded the Cayman Islands Qualship 21 Status, a maritime quality benchmark which currently only about 10% of foreign ships entering US waters meet.

Qualship 21 is the USCG’s matrix system of extending recognition to “foreign” ships, which fly the Flag of a state which has demonstrated a good safety and pollution prevention record with respect to its ships. Ships in the Qualship 21 system are required to undergo significantly less Port State Control inspections by the USCG whilst in US waters.

Essentially, the Qualship 21 system “rewards” good ships thereby contributing to the elimination of substandard ships.

In order to qualify:

  • The Flag State or Registry must have less than a 1% detention ratio in the US over a three-year rolling average.
  • The Flag State must have submitted its Self Assessment Questionnaire to the International Maritime Organisation.
  • No detentions of or violations by the vessel in US waters within the previous 36 months.
  • The vessel must have completed a successful USCG Port State Control inspection within the previous 12 months.
  • The shipping company must have a detention-free fleet in US waters for the past 24 months.
  • The vessel must be classed with a “non-targeted” classification society.

Once the Flag State or Registry and Classification Society meet the criteria, this allows the Registry’s ships to become eligible to apply and qualify individually for Qualship 21 status. It is at that point that the USCG examines ships and shipping company profiles in order to contact eligible ships for confirmation of qualification. So far, only about 10% of all “foreign” ships calling at US ports qualify.

Mr Joel Walton, CEO (Designate)of the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands and Director of the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry remarked: “Our progress over the last 6 years has shown that we have reduced our rolling 3-year average of detentions of Cayman ships in the US from 3.95% in 2002 to 0.42% in 2006. It is also commendable that notwithstanding the effects of Hurricane Ivan in 2004, we still managed to submit the comprehensive Self Assessment to the IMO.”

Mr. Walton went on to state that the CISR would strive to maintain its Qualship 21 status by continuing to uphold internal and external safety and regulatory standards.


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