From January next year, the way that ships around the UK coast are inspected will change – ranking companies by risk, rather than the existing target of inspecting 25% of all vessels calling at UK ports. One of the ways in which companies will be assessed will be on which flag their vessels are registered – with the UK’s Red Ensign the first to meet the criteria for low-risk ships.
Shipping Minister Mike Penning says: “The UK has a long and proud maritime tradition and The Red Ensign reflects this. This move is another reminder of the quality of the British flag, confirming its status as one of the safest in the world. It is also yet another reason why companies should look no further than the UK when considering where to register their vessels”.
The new inspection regime forms part of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (PMoU) which comes into effect on 1st January 2011.
The PMoU has established a formula which takes into consideration the deficiencies and detentions of the company’s fleet in the last 36 months. This is based on the IMO company number and compares it to the average of all vessels inspected in the PMoU to determine the performance level. The companies will be ranked into very low, low, medium and high performing. Any Refusal of Access (Ban) will have a negative impact on the ranking of the company and will be subject to more in-depth and more frequent inspections.
One of the criteria for a Low Risk Ship is that it must be registered with a white listed flag (as per the Paris MoU Black, Grey and White list) and the flag must have undergone the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme (VIMSAS).
The Paris MoU will publish an up-to-date list of flag States which meet the flag criteria for a Low Risk Ship (white list + VIMSAS) on its public website .