ECONOMY

Greek shipping advances

Thousands of ships have been checked by member states of the Paris MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) for the implementation of the regulations of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, in force since July 1, 2004. The first data from for the months of July, August and September show that 4,681 vessels were inspected, with 28 being held for security reasons and another 44 for other failures. In total, 5.7 percent of the vessels checked were held, with 1.5 percent held for security reasons. In addition, 60 ships were detained for lacking the international ISSC certificate and another 45 ships were not held but did have some failures. Hundreds of other vessels did not have access-on-board control or lacked security exercise logs. Paris MoU officials suggest that inspections will continue at the same rate to make sure that all companies have implemented the ISPS Code provisions. Separately, International Maritime Organization data show that the Greek shipping register remains for the third year in succession on the so-called «white list,» i.e. among the countries where the vast majority of registered vessels fulfill the «Qualship» (quality ship) conditions. Shipping circles told Kathimerini that «the Greek flag will further consolidate its place on the white list as Greek shipowners have gone ahead with new orders of ships that fulfill all existing conditions and security and quality terms provided by international regulations.» Greek flag upgrade The «Qualship 21» system of the US Coast Guard will from now on include vessels bearing the Greek flag, which will thus enjoy a number of privileges as they enter US ports. These privileges include fewer inspections, refueling with a special certificate, etc. Qualship 21 aims at eliminating low-security shipping and rewarding vessels with proven high security. The accession of Greek-flagged ships to this system, combined with the placement of the Greek shipping register on the white list of Paris MoU is internationally the most prestigious acknowledgement of the quality upgrade of Greek shipping.