Quality initiatives launched last year by the London-based St Kitts & Nevis International Ship Registry (SKANReg) have prompted a major improvement in results from Port State Control inspections, with detentions reduced by up to 62% and deficiencies down by as much as 49%.
Now SKANReg is seeking support for further progress in a submission to the IMO’s Flag State Implementation (FSI) sub-committee ahead of its 20th session from March 26-30. The registry says it is ‘a source of frustration’ that, with only a small number of ships operating within certain regions, even a single detention can result in targeting of its ships and adversely affect its PSC list ratings in some areas. It is suggesting a harmonised system of reporting PSC statistics to avoid distortions. The proposal comes as SKANReg – operational since 2005 – steps up its bid to attain PSC Grey List status within the next 1-2 years and White List ranking within 2-4 years from now. As part of this drive, the registry has successfully applied to the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme and is due to be audited in the second half of next year. Technical assistance has been offered by several countries, notably Australia and Turkey. Alongside this, on February 21 the St Kitts & Nevis government became the 23rd signatory to the Maritime Labour Convention 2006, which sets out new working and living standards for seafarers. The convention needs backing by 30 countries and – following a surge of seven ratifications in the last six months – is now expected to come into force in the very near future. Meanwhile, as reported in its paper to the FSI sub-committee, SKANReg enhanced its regulatory oversight in 2011 with a string of new measures that slashed ship detentions and deficiencies in the three main PSC regimes where its 320 SOLAS vessels operate. Under the Paris MOU covering Europe and the North Atlantic, detentions were 62% lower – with eight last year against 21 in 2010 – and the detention rate was halved to 8.2%. Total deficiencies were down 49%, while the average number of deficiencies per inspection fell from 6.86 to 4.84 overall and to 3.16 among ships that were not detained. Detentions under the Tokyo Asia/Pacific MOU were down 37% from 11 to 7 and the detention rate reduced from 17.19 to 7.4%. Total deficiencies fell by 29%, with the average number per ship down from 7.25 to 3.88 across the fleet and to 2.28 for non-detained vessels. Inspections under the Black Sea MOU saw detentions fall by 55% from 11 to 5; the detention rate cut from 12.94 to 4.7%; total deficiencies down 20%; and average deficiencies per ship reduced from 6.0 to 3.8, or 3.2 excluding those on detained ships.
The enhanced procedures introduced by SKANReg include:
- close engagement with relevant administrations to underline the registry’s commitment to the results of PSC inspections
- risk profiling of registration applicants to weed out poor performers
- daily monitoring and analysis of PSC website reports to facilitate follow-up action
- additional surveys/audits of ships and owners/managers in the case of detentions
- a system of written warnings to owners/managers, increasing in severity, if a ship suffers repeat detentions. Three detentions within a set period warrant removal of a ship from the register, which happened five times in 2011
- engagement with the 13 classification societies delegated as Recognized Organizations to optimise their involvement, especially after detention
- establishment of a network of non-exclusive Flag State Inspectors to help conduct both scheduled and unscheduled inspections and ISM audits
- strengthening of the registry’s regulatory control department with staff dedicated to compliance issues
The registry is making ongoing investment in IT systems to further improve analysis of regulatory performance and speed the identification of ships needing action on compliance.
Registrar Nigel Smith says: “Our fleet is gradually becoming more diverse and sophisticated, but at the same time we remain loyal to owners and managers from developing nations who often operate older tonnage. This raises special challenges in maintaining standards, but it categorically does not mean there is any room for compromise on quality.
“The tightened control measures we introduced last year underline our commitment in this respect and have already shown our ability to make rapid strides in the right direction.”
SKANReg automates fisheries reports
In a further step to optimise regulatory oversight, SKANReg has implemented an automated transhipment reporting system after being admitted as a Cooperating Non-Contracting Party of the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC). The system will be obligatory for SKANReg ships carrying out transhipment of fish catches. It enables them to submit mandatory reports much faster than by manual methods and also issues warnings if reports are missed. SKANReg membership of NEAFC took effect from January 1 after being agreed at the Commission’s annual meeting last November.
Since then, final development and testing of hardware and software has been completed in liaison with Fulcrum Maritime Systems, the registry’s Long-Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) national data centre provider. Fulcrum’s Fisheries Monitoring Equipment generates reports to both NEAFC and SKANReg. As well as catch data and the warning facility, the system identifies the geographical limits of the NEAFC regulatory area and any Exclusive Economic Zone.
Automatic position reporting is instigated on an hourly basis, with the LRIT as back-up if the primary system fails. Detailing the measures in a paper to the IMO Flag State Implementation sub-committee, SKANReg says it intends to apply for membership of other Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) and stresses that the software can be rewritten to take account of varying regulatory and reporting requirements.
Meanwhile the registry has issued extensive guidelines for its vessels engaged in NEAFC transhipment operations. Apart from the requirement to install the approved monitoring system, owners must apply for a permit at least 48 hours before each transhipment, with full details of the species, quantities, fishing vessels, intended place of transhipment and intended port of landing. Permits are granted subject to comprehensive checks by SKANReg to establish that transhipment is with a fishing vessel that is on the NEAFC approved list, is not on the Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) list of any RFMO and is flagged by a State with a sufficient quota for the species to be transhipped.
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