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Larger flag states perform better, shows ICS report

Image: ICS Flag-state-table-cover-photo-1-820x420 (002).jpg
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has published its latest Flag State Performance Table (2020/2021) analysing how shipping registries deliver against a number of criteria such as ratification of international maritime Conventions and attendance at IMO meetings.

The table shows that many of the largest flag states continue to perform to what the ICS describes as “an exceptionally high standard” with traditional flags and open registers performing equally well.

“The table clearly indicates that distinctions between ‘traditional’ flags and open registers are no longer meaningful,” commented ICS secretary-general Guy Platten. “Alongside several European registers, and flags such as Japan, we have seen many open registers amongst the very top performers.”

Excluding Port State Control results (not applicable in 2020 due to the pandemic), flags showing no negative indicators included Bahamas, Cyprus, Denmark, Faroe Islands, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong (China), Italy, Japan, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore, Spain and the UK - including Red Ensign Group flags Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar and Isle of Man.

“There is still a number of smaller flag states that have a lot of work to do to considerably enhance their performance,” Platten concluded, “and shipowners should consider very carefully the prospect of using these flags, which may be perceived to be sub-standard.”

The Flag State Performance Table can be accessed free of charge from the new ICS website


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