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Cyprus joins US Qualship 21 list

Cyprus has joined the USCG’s Qualship 21 list after cementing its position on the Paris and Tokyo MoU ‘white lists’ in relation to the safety performance of flag administrations.

The Qualship 21 programme which recognises the top performing flag states based on port state control performance over a rolling three-year period contains 25 top flag administrations for the July 2020 to 30 June 2021 down two flags on the 2019/2020 period.

South Korea joins Cyprus on the latest list, but Liberia, the world’s second largest flag state, along with China, Belgium and Curacao drop out.

The three-year average detention ratio of Cyprus for the period 2017-2019 was 0.96% compared to an average USCG ratio of 1.08%.

Cyprus’ Shipping Ministry points out that as a “result of the national shipping strategy implemented since the ministry’s inception” March 2018, with the aim of cementing the island nation’s position as one of the world’s top flag administrations and a leading shipping cluster, that in 2019, the annual detention ratio of Cyprus ships was reduced to 0.55%, from 1.79% in 2018, while the USCG’s 2019 ratio was 1.12%.

Cyprus Shipping Minister, Natasa Pilides, said: “The Shipping Deputy ministry has always focused on providing a high-quality service and will continue to focus on providing tailored, trusted services to all our collaborators while ensuring safety, security and environmental protection.

“Over the past few years the Shipping Ministry has introduced a host of new applications on its website ranging from the electronic seafarers’ management system to the electronic verification of certificates, the online submission and management of tax returns, a tax calculator and an interactive career platform for seafarers.

“We are pleased our strategy has significantly improved our offering to ship owners and enhanced safety as reflected in the reduced detention ratio. An automated port state control system as well as an online ship registration application are also under development, aiming to further reduce bureaucracy and enhance our one-stop service.”

Committed to safeguarding and enhancing the competitiveness of the Cyprus maritime cluster, the Ministry has obtained EU approval for the prolongation of its tonnage tax system for another 10 years. It has also taken steps to promote maritime education in Cyprus, whilst marine and maritime innovation has acquired new momentum with the creation of the Cyprus Marine and Maritime Institute as it strives to contribute to shaping international policies for greener, smarter and safer shipping.

Meanwhile, approximately a third of the Qualship 21 certified vessels are flying the Marshall Islands flag, which has been on the Qualship 21 roster for an unprecedented 16 consecutive years.

Rear Admiral Richard V Timme, assistant commandant for prevention policy at the USCG, wrote in the report for 2019 that US port state control inspectors will strongly enforce the new Marpol Annex VI global 0.5% limit on the sulphur content of fuel and the US 0.1% ECA limit.

“We recognise there may be challenges with meeting the new low sulphur fuel requirements, I strongly encourage operators and owners to develop contingency plans for the potential compliance challenges and include them as a part of their Safety Management System,” warned Timme.

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