January 12 - The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has published its latest annual Shipping Industry Flag State Performance Table which can be seen in full here: see www.ics-shipping.org/flag-performance.htm
The Table collates various data available in the public domain. Under the supervision of ICS's member national shipowners' associations, the presentation of the Table for 2011 has been modified slightly in order to address feedback from governments.
However the purpose is the same: to encourage shipowners to examine whether a flag state has substance before using it and to encourage them to pressure their flag administration to effect any improvement that might be necessary.
ICS believes that a balance has to be struck between the commercial advantages of shipowners selecting a particular flag and the need to discourage the use any flag that does not meet its international obligations. While it is shipping companies that have primary responsibility for the safe operation of their ships it is the flag state that must enforce the rules.
ICS secretary general, Peter Hinchliffe (pictured below) explained: "ICS makes no apology for continuing to subject flag states to scrutiny, in the same way that ships and company procedures are rightly subjected to inspection by governments. Our overriding interest in promoting high performing flags is that they are less likely to tolerate sub-standard operators who would otherwise enjoy an unfair commercial advantage over the vast majority of fully compliant shipping companies".