State Obligations as Registrars

An EU Directive provides a framework to ensure states fulfil their obligations as flag states or place of registration more effectively and consistently.  It seeks to prevent maritime pollution and improve maritime safety.

Before permitting a ship to be registered and authorised to fly its flag, states must ensure the ship complies with international rules and regulations.  It must check safety records.  The previous flag state must be consulted if necessary if the ship has outstanding deficiencies or safety issues.

The Directive is designed to ensure that states comply with their obligations as ship registrars.  A state may not authorise a ship under its until it has verified that the ship complies with relevant rules and regulations.  In particular, it must comply with safety requirements.  The previous state or registration should be consulted if there are any outstanding deficiencies or if safety issues.

If a ship has been detained by a port, the administration of the state registration is to oversee that the ship is brought into compliance with the IMO Convention.

States must ensure that the following information is available at all times.

  • particulars of the ship including name, IMO numbers.
  • date of surveys, supplementary surveys, and
  • identification of organisations involved in certification and classification,
  • the outcome of port ship inspections, information on deficiencies and detention and marine casualties.
  • date of due registration.

States must ensure that their administrations are subject to audit by the IMO at least every seven years.  The result of the audit are to be published subject to national legislation and confidentiality.  This provision is to apply until a mandatory IMO scheme might replace it.

By 2012 states were to implement a quality management system for the operation of flag state  administration and related activities.  States which appeared on a blacklist or gray list for two successive years must submit a report to the Commission on the performance together with details of reasons for status.

Transfer between Flag

EU regulation allows for the transfer of passenger and cargo ships between EU registers.  It applies to ships constructed after 1998 in the case of passenger ships and after May 1980 in the case of cargo ships, the date is 1st July 1998.

The regulations do not apply to

  • war or troop ships
  • ships used only for governmental non-commercial purposes,
  • ships not propelled by a mechanical means,
  • ships of wooden or primitive build,
  • pleasure yachts not engaged in trade or fishing,
  • cargo ships less than 300 — 500 gross tonnage.

States may not refuse a transfer of registration for technical reasons where the ship complies with the requirements and carries valid certification under EU Directives.

The state from which the transfer is taking place is to give the requisite information to the recipient state.  This is to include the file history, list of improvements required by the outgoing registrar, details of the survey due etc.  Upon transfer a new certificate is issued under the same conditions as those formerly issued.

Where there is a refusal to transfer, the Commission must be notified.  Registration may be suspended where the transfer may not take place due to security, safety or danger to the environmental issues.


Important Notice! This website is provided for informational purposes only! It is a fundamental condition of the use of this website that no liability is accepted for any loss or damage caused by reason of any error, omission, or misstatement in its contents. 

Draft Articles; The articles on this website are in draft form and are subject to further review for typographical errors and, in some cases, updating and correction. It is intended to include references to the sources of materials and acknowledgements in the final version. The content of articles with [EU] in the title and some of the articles in the section on Agriculture are a reproduction of or are based on European or Irish public sector information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *