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Release Date:
Release ID: 1282

OPEN REGISTRIES COMPLEMENT RATHER THAN COMPETE WITH NATIONAL FLAGS, SAYS IRI

Open registries do not exist to compete with national flags but to provide shipowners operating internationally with more flexible registry services and to assist them in securing international financing vehicles. “Open registries today form an essential component of the world shipping industry,” Bill Gallagher, President of International Registries, Inc. (IRI), which administers the Marshall Islands Registry, yesterday told delegates at Mare Forum’s Maritime Italy 2007 conference in Sorrento.

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Referring to the way in which open and national registries can work hand-in-hand, Mr. Gallagher said: “Bareboat charter registration in essence temporarily permits a vessel to fly the flag of another country while ownership continues to be registered in the owner’s state. It provides a welcome element of flexibility in a number of commercial situations.”



“Permanent mortgages can be recorded immediately in the Marshall Islands. International banks are familiar and secure with our system. In addition, mortgage amendments due to refinancing can be accomplished quickly, efficiently and inexpensively,” he added.



Mr. Gallagher also stressed that service philosophy and white list status were key criteria for shipowners selecting an open registry. The Marshall Islands Registry – white listed by the Paris and Tokyo MoUs, and the US Coast Guard Qualship 21 program – has in recent years invested heavily in further building on its service reputation, not least through its ongoing program of decentralisation. This strategy is particularly important in light of the Marshall Islands’ growing fleet, which at more than 36 million gross tons is now ranked as the fourth largest in the world.



“We have always said that service does not stop once a registration takes place,” explained Mr. Gallagher. “In furtherance of this concept, additional decentralization of operational capabilities is taking place. To better facilitate the needs of the shipowning community, additional technical and marine safety personnel have been added in regional areas in Europe and Asia to more quickly respond to technical issues that arise,” he continued.



Turning to the flag state’s regulatory role, Mr. Gallagher spoke to delegates about the Marshall Islands’ ongoing involvement in the IMO’s Model Audit Scheme. “We have long been a participant in the Model Audit Scheme and continue to be profoundly involved in its development. The voluntary scheme is intended to provide assistance to IMO member states in identifying areas in need of development within their administrations, with the goal of more effective implementation and enforcement of international regulations,” he stated.



“In January, the Marshall Islands became one of the first flag state administrations to be audited under the voluntary scheme,” he continued.



With a local representatve in Ravenna and Mediterranean headquarters in Piraeus, the Marshall Islands is able to respond in a fast and efficient way to the needs of the Italian shipping community.



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