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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Flag state audit deserves full support

It is disappointing to see criticism of the IMO’s Voluntary Member State Audit Scheme before it has had a chance to get going and gather momentum.


If we are to maintain pressure on substandard shipping, if we are to continue striving for excellence and if we are attempting to raise the bar for operating standards, it is crucial to shine the spotlight on the FlagStates, which are at the base of the current system, by subjecting them to external scrutiny. Such scrutiny allows the IMO to have some control over the implementation of the regulations that it brings into being.


Some of the criticism has focused on the voluntary nature of the scheme which could result in a lack of transparency if a particular audit goes badly.


However the finished scheme has been well-supported in principle by member states, and was developed and adopted with overwhelming support. 24 member states have already applied for voluntary audit. The scheme may be voluntary, but few flag states are likely in practice to be able to avoid it. And why should they wish to? The essence of the scheme is to build constructively on a poor audit result rather than indulging purely in negative criticism.


INTERTANKO is strongly in favour of flag state audit recommendations being implemented and also being made public. We will only work with flags which DO undergo an audit, which DO make these recommendations public, and which DO implement the recommendations.


We believe that a vigorous, positive, supportive and proactive approach to the VoluntaryMember State Audit Scheme is fundamental to its success – and to the ability of the industry to strive for excellence.