Liberia: Offshore Business Sectors
The Liberian ship registry is recognized as the leading open registry in terms of safety and quality. Service and efficiency in response to owners' needs is a primary attraction as responsiveness and high level of service often surpasses that offered by many national flags. The fleet average age is by far one the youngest of all flags, national and open.
The excellent record of the fleet can be attributed to many factors including; delegation of statutory surveys to the leading classification societies, a worldwide network of nautical inspectors who perform annual safety inspections and well qualified and documented professional seafarers who meet the highest standards of training, experience and certification. The Registry regulates Liberian flagged ship from a basis of well-documented maritime laws, regulations, and Marine notices to enforce the Registry's maritime safety, security and pollution prevention programs.
LISCR uses a worldwide network of nautical inspectors to conduct annual safety inspections, which complement the surveys conducted by the classification societies. These inspections are focused on operational, manning, training and safety management issues. This program is critical to maintaining the quality of the ship registry.
LISCR tracks and reports to the IMO on all Port State Detentions of Liberian Flag vessels, although there have been very few of these. The nautical inspectors have come to the aid of detained vessels and the registry by using their expertise to help correct the deficiencies identified by the Port State Inspector or, in some cases, removing the record of Port State detention when the reported deficiency was not found to be applicable to the particular vessel or operation.
As evident by the attack on the MT Tanker LIMBURG in October 2002, commercial ships and their crews are not only targets of crimes such as robbery, piracy and hostage taking, but are now also potential targets of terrorist attacks. The Liberian Administration believes the new International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code, when properly implemented onboard and in conjunction with a vessel's shore-side organization , can reduce the threat of crimes or attacks against Liberian vessels and their crews, and minimize the potential vulnerability of neighbouring environments.
Liberia has taken a clear industry lead in terms of carrying out certifications and audits for the ISPS Code, which entered into force on July 1 this year. Despite widespread concerns of slow implementation throughout the industry, Liberia was the pacesetter in terms of ISPS plan approvals and onboard audits and certification. For example, by early May 2004, 95% of Liberian security plans had been approved and nearly two-thirds of the mandated ISPS Audits had either been completed or scheduled. Liberia was also the first registry to partner with the United States' Proliferation Security Initiative. Working together with US officials, Liberia helped to draft a bilateral agreement, which addresses the threat of transportation of weapons of mass destruction by sea. Other maritime nations are now signing the very same agreement, which was pioneered by Liberia and the United States.
Many shipowners acknowledged Liberia's professional and efficient implementation of the ISPS Code. In fact, two-thirds of Liberia's fleet chose LISCR to conduct their security audits, over and above other Responsible Security Organisations approved by the Registry.