Reductions in Port State Control examinations and streamlined inspection procedures are among the rewards that await the owners of non-U.S. registered commercial ships who call on U. S. ports -- if they measure up in a new quality incentive program announced by the U.S. Coast Guard. U.S. Coast Guard announced the program "QUALSHIP 21" as the part of the overall effort to eliminate substandard shipping and reward high-quality vessels. A similar program is being considered for U. S. registered vessels.
In the past, the U. S. Coast Guard has aggressively enforced safety standards with a primary focus on identifying poor-quality vessels. This strict enforcement will continue and has paid off. Coast Guard safety experts say the quality of vessels visiting U.S. ports has improved over the last six years. In fact, hundreds of vessels are typically found with few or no deficiencies. QUALSHIP 21 is intended to reward such high-quality ships and provide incentives to others to improve.
Some of the QUALSHIP 21 criteria are, the vessel:
- Must have no substandard vessel detentions in the U.S. within previous 36 months
- Must have no marine violations or serious marine casualties, and no more than one ticket in the U.S. within the previous 36 months
- Must have a successful Port State Control (PSC) exam within previous 12 months;
- Must not be registered with a Flag State that has a detention ratio more that 1/3 of the overall U.S. detention ratio and the vessel’s Flag State must have at least 10 distinct arrivals in each of the previous 3 years
Vessel owners will not need to apply for QUALSHIP 21 designation. The U.S. Coast Guard will develop a preliminary list of eligible vessels and send letters to those vessel owners to notify them of this initiative and their opportunity to participate. Vessel owners that believe that they have ships eligible for designation, but do not see their vessels on the QUALSHIP 21 Web Page (to be posted March 2001) should notify the Coast Guard.