Home Greece Dr. Michalis Pantazopoulos*: Liberia’s # 1 Position in Greece Redefines Commitment in...

Dr. Michalis Pantazopoulos*: Liberia’s # 1 Position in Greece Redefines Commitment in Partnership

With 4,423 registered vessels, aggregating more than 171,7 million gross tons, or 12 per cent of the world fleet and average age of the fleet 10 years, the Liberian Registry is the largest quality registry worldwide.

In addition, Liberia has been the preferred flag of choice for Greek shipowners according to the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee of London with 840 flagged ships and over 72,5 million DWT, representing 21,3% of the 4,017 ships of the Greek controlled fleet, as published in March 2019, whilst current statistics on the Greek fleet as of September 2019, show 1,220 vessels of 102,6 million DWT (Shipping & Finance, September 2019).

The Greek Office – 2 Efplias Str., Piraeus – “All Services Locally”

The LISCR Piraeus office was established in 2000 at Efplias 2 in the heart of the port. Piraeus has always been a home for the Liberian flag and is one of the Liberian Registry’s longest-established offices with dedicated and highly professional staff available to assist the shipmanagers and the vessels whenever is needed. The Greek shipping community appreciates the broad spectrum of quality services and support offered locally including corporate, vessel registration and mortgage, plan approvals, seafarers’ certification, and technical, safety, ballast and security services and certification. Our motto “All Services Locally” has received acceptance, recognition, and appreciation by the Greek shipping community. There are not any flag states that have the capability to offer all these services locally in Piraeus or elsewhere. This save time as well as money to the shipowners/managers.

It is noteworthy that the Piraeus office serves not only Greek shipping companies but also Cypriot shipping companies in full capacity, whilst there are also available special agent services in Limassol.

Our approach to Greek shipping is simple based on hard work, consistency, responsibility, credibility, immediate response and service, any day and hour as shipping works around the clock. Our aim is to find solutions, to support the vessel and the operator. Our faith in the strengths of Greek shipowners who irrespectively of freight market conditions, as in the present difficult time for dry cargo and container ships, continue to invest and contribute to our Greek economy creates additional obligation for support and solidarity to Greek shipowners.
Worldwide Service – 24/7
The Liberian Registry has always been the pioneer in the way ship registries operate and introduced the concept of customer service. The Liberian Registry is fully supported 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by a worldwide team of Liberian representatives and special agents including over 400 nautical inspectors and auditors, backed by a one of a kind technological platform that cuts down service delivery and response times. There is always a maritime professional available to assist and serve shipowners anywhere in the world, at any time.
Today, the Registry operates 29 full-service global regional offices having recently opened four new offices in China at Guangzhou, Ningbo, Tianjin, and Qingdao to serve the growing Asian market.
Our online client-interface system, WayPoint, offers shipowners secure, real-time, user-friendly access to their fleet details anytime and anywhere in the world. WayPoint is a centralized, single database compiling all information relating to the performance and registration of Liberian vessels.
Technology – Port State Control (PSC) – Regulations & IMO Participation
Regulations and technology are the two largest influencers of the maritime industry. Technology has been revolutionizing shipping since the steam engine; not only has it transformed the ships at sea, but the industry ashore. Now, we have everything from unmanned engine rooms to ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information System). Liberia making major technology investments, became the first Flag Administration to offer electronic certificates, electronic seafarer documentation systems, an online client portal for registry services, and electronic oil record books, to name a few. As the world and shipping simultaneously evolve, so must the flag States. A ship registry must be lean, efficient, and provide cost savings for its users by proactively adopting new technologies.
In recent years, the Liberian Registry has launched many programs which make life easier for owners/managers, whilst improving safety and efficiency. The Registry developed a unique satellite-based Detention Prevention program which has helped ensure regulatory compliance and prevent detentions in some of the world’s most active Port State Control (PSC) areas. The Detention Prevention Program guides clients to exactly what each port states requires depending on a vessel’s age, type, size, and other characteristics. This system is totally electronic and non-burdensome and is provided at no extra cost to shipowners and managers. The Liberian Registry works with its clients to ensure that their vessels are well-prepared for port calls in the world’s high-focus jurisdictions, and that any issues are properly reported and addressed. As such, the Registry acts as a liaison directly between the client and the PSC authorities.
This has led the Liberian Flag to be on the White List of all major PSC MOUs (Paris, Tokyo) as well as on USCG’s QUALSHIP 21 scheme.
Recent international regulations have made our industry safer, cleaner, and more globalized. Furthermore, these regulations have opened the door for innovative technologies by forcing the industry to reevaluate the ways in which we operate.
As a founding member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Liberia has taken a leading role in global shipping at a very early stage and continues to be a member of the IMO Council. Liberia is a Party to all the major maritime safety and environmental protection Conventions and Treaties and sets the standard regarding IMO participation. Liberia’s permanent representatives at IMO provide a full-time voice on issues affecting shipowners, clients, and the maritime industry. In doing so, we constantly advocate for regulations that reflect the needs of the industry, with the interests of our shipowners/managers in mind.
Most recently, Liberia called for early reporting on 2020-compliant fuel availability at the IMO. Since shipowners and operators hold a disproportionate responsibility in meeting the challenges associated with implementation of the 0.50% m/m global fuel oil Sulphur limit, they should not need to guess where or whether compliant fuel will be available. Early reporting will assist Liberia’s shipowners and operators to meet their responsibilities and gain experience on these new fuels, while assisting in the smooth and effective transition to the new regulatory requirements.
Further on, during the recent Marine Environmental Protection Committee meeting MEPC 74, Liberia called for the need for additional scientific studies to provide more clarity and assist in understanding on the environment impacts to the marine environment of washwater discharged by Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS). The lack of understanding appears to have led to many member States taking unilateral local or regional restrictions or prohibition measures.

Liberia stressed that any measures to control the discharge of washwater from EGCS must be based on sound scientific studies and evidenced based data. Liberia also called for maintaining the following principles in considering any future measures:
• Owners that were “early movers” in fitting their vessels with EGCS in accordance Regulation 4 MARPOL Annex VI, as an equivalent method of compliance with regulations 14, have acted in good faith.

• Owners that installed EGCS under the current EGCS guidelines should not be unduly punished, if those guidelines are revised in the future. If new draft revised EGCS guidelines are agreed, they should only apply to new EGCS installed after the date the guidelines are adopted.

A Shipping Partnership – Our Commitment
Shipping is an industry of partnership and not a one-way street, and we are committed to making sure to share with shipowners our experiences, our networks, our technology, and our global network to ensure their vessels get the support they need to operate in an ever changing and increasingly complicated regulatory environment.
The aim for continuous improvement, innovation, technology utilization to improve existing system for ships to operate efficiently, safely and environmentally friendly is a continuous effort. Liberia is committed on this continuous effort moving towards systems, procedures and processes that will improve not only shipping but the community at large and this is a commitment.

* Senior Vice President & General Manager of the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry’s (LISCR) Piraeus office, managers of the Liberian Registry

Source: nafsgreen.gr