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Dr. Michalis Pantazopoulos*: Liberian Registry, Leading Technology for the Benefit of Ships & Shipmanagers

The Liberian Registry has always been a highly proactive flag supporting shipowners and managers with significant investments in technology to assist in reducing their cost as well as save operating time.

It has established a reputation as the world’s most innovative ship registry, and it will continue to build on that reputation with the application by its skilled workforce of the latest cutting-edge technology for the benefit of ship owners and operators of more than 4,170 vessels worldwide.
Some of Liberian Registry’s unique digitization developments and services are:
Electronic Certificates: Liberia is the only Flag State to offer "Electronic Certificates." Liberia’s electronic certificates prevent fraud due to their built-in security features, as they are issued with a unique Tracking Identification Number (TID) to enable port state officials and other parties to verify the authenticity of the certificates on the website, and cannot be lost or damaged.
Electronic certification accelerates the vessel registration process because certificates can be safely delivered without delay to even the most remote locations. It provides additional operational efficiency reducing delays and it is not necessary for a Liberian Registry representative to attend on the ground, resulting in savings for Liberian shipowners.
Digitalization of mortgage records, meanwhile, results in a reduction of roughly one-third in the amount of paper documentation needed to record a mortgage in Liberia. No extra paper copies are needed for Liberian records, producing a positive environmental impact, added convenience and significant cost-savings.
Seafarer’s Certification and Documentation (SEA System): Liberia’s versatile web-based System that allows authorized filing agents to electronically apply for Liberian seafarer’s documents and resulting to substantial savings in processing time and courier fees. It is estimated that the system has saved the Registry’s clients more than $4 million in courier expenses alone over the past two years. SEA System, a secure, web-based application, was designed in participation with shipowners and Port State Control representatives. Its objectives are increased operational productivity and transparency, leading to greater efficiency, security, control and – ultimately - lower costs and increased customer satisfaction.
Online Certification Services for WRC, BCLC and CLC Compliance: Following the success of an online certification facility on its secure eMaritime website on the Removal of Wrecks 2007 Convention (WRC), the Registry further enhanced the website to include online applications for certification under the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage 2001 (BCLC) and the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage 1992 (CLC). Liberia’s enhanced online facility is available to owners of Liberian-flagged ships as well as owners of ships registered in non-convention States. Shipowners and managers can apply for Liberian WRC, BCLC and CLC certificates online directly at Liberia’s Waypoint Client Portal.
Liberia and ε-ORB (electronic Oil Record Book): In partnership with Prevention at Sea Ltd, a Cyprus-based maritime compliance technology company, the Liberian Registry has launched an innovative software product designed to replace traditional ORBs. The electronic oil record book, ε-ORB, is intended to address a variety of issues, including oil record books being reported missing on board, failure to document entries in the ORB of internal transfer of oily mixture, discrepancies between entry into the ORB and actual capacity of the oil water separator, and falsification of log entries.
The ε-ORB software has been created in accordance with MARPOL requirements and certified by Lloyd’s Register under MEPC1/Circ. 736/Rev. 2 guidelines. It is designed to establish transparency, credibility and traceability. All information is stored electronically through the use of a system back-up, making archiving easier and enabling past data to be revisited. The software is available for use by shipowners, ship operators, and authorities worldwide.
Positive feedback has been received from, among others, members of Intertanko and Intercargo. The Liberian Registry is currently working with Port State Control (PSC) authorities worldwide, including the U.S. Coast Guard, to secure their acceptance of electronic ORBs. Following the April 2016 meeting of IMO’s Marine Environmental Protection Committee, a request was sent to the IMO Facilitation Committee to rework PSC guidelines to include electronic record books. ε-ORB received Lloyd’s List Maritime Service Award in 2017 in USA.
“Advance Notice of Arrival” (ANOA) Program: The Registry has also developed a unique satellite-based Compliance Assistance Program (CAP) which has helped ensure regulatory compliance and prevent detentions in some of the world’s most active Port State Control (PSC) areas. Prior to arrival, the Administration uses an innovative risk analysis tool (SEA Safe) to calculate whether a particular vessel may be a high target for PSC boarding. Risk criteria cover both the ship and the company, drawing on PSC deficiency and detention histories. If there are concerns that a vessel may need assistance, the Registry's Administration has several proactive support services that will be implemented. The system is totally electronic and non-burdensome, and is provided at no extra cost to shipowners and managers.
Liberia continually updates and maintains this sophisticated program to screen advance notice of ship arrivals as part of a detention prevention plan to help maintain its independent ranking among the safest and most efficient ship registries in the world. As a result, Liberian vessels have experienced a decrease in detentions in heavily trafficked PSC regions such as China.
Liberian Registry Authorization of ClassNK eCertificates: The Liberian Registry authorized Class NK to provide Liberian flagged vessels with electronic certificates for statutory surveys in April 2017. ClassNK is the world's first classification society to be authorized by the Liberian Registry to issue certificates in electronic form.
Using elements of the Liberian Registry's own digitized certificates, widely recognized in IMO, ClassNK has developed the ClassNK e-Certificate in conformity with the updated Guidelines for the Use of Electronic Certificates (FAL.5/Circ.39/Rev.2) issued by IMO in April 2017.
The Liberian Registry has confirmed the certificates issued through ClassNK e-Certificate meet the requirements set out in the IMO Guidelines, and has authorized its use for statutory surveys.
The Liberian Registry is requesting Port State Control and others to allow the use of ClassNK e-Certificate issued electronic certificates. The following certificates are covered by the system:
• Load Line, SOLAS (SC, SE, SR, Exemption Certificates), MARPOL (IOPP, NLS, ISPP, IAPP, EIAPP, IEE), AFS, BWMS, ITC, SMC, ISSC, MLC.
FlagState Mobile Application: Launching of a powerful state-of-the-art mobile application (app) to enable owners, operators and others to communicate and interact with the Liberian Registry on a round-the-clock basis. Liberia’s FlagState App is now available for download in both the Google Play (http://bit.ly/NQnwgV) and Apple’s iTunes App Stores (http://bit.ly/1q0gKnS).


 *Senior Vice President & General Manager of the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry’s (LISCR) Piraeus office, managers of the Liberian Registry

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