The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Registry has claimed it has become the world's largest tanker fleet flag state.
The number one spot was achieved during the summer, RMI said, with additional tonnage joining the registry from Greece, the US and Asia, bringing the total tanker gt up to 44.6 mill.
International Registries Inc and its affiliates (IRI), which provide administrative and technical support to the RMI Maritime and Corporate Registries, said it was committed to the continued decentralisation of services to better support the registry's owners and operators in every aspect of their business.
This principle has led the registry to an average year-on-year growth of 15% since 2001, it claimed.
Overall, the RMI Registry now stands at 137.3 mill gt, with an average age of 8.7 years, totalling 3,937 vessels.
The registry has been on the US Coast Guard's Qualship 21 programme for 12 consecutive years and continues to be on the White Lists of the Paris and Tokyo MOUs.
"Qualship 21 is a particularly difficult standard to meet," said Bill Gallagher, President, IRI. "As mentioned at the Connecticut Maritime Association's (CMA's) Shipping 2016 Conference, 13 of the 26 eligible flag States from 2015 fell off Qualship.
"This dramatic development in the spring led directly to the increased tonnage for the registry in the summer. The RMI is the only flag state of the three largest that holds Qualship 21 status; where others have faltered, we have remained steadfast for more than a decade.
"Tanker tonnage undergoes a strenuous vetting process and choosing a quality flag is one of the most important factors in the process for owners, operators, and charterers.
"Through our exceptional operations and customer service to so many of the world's top shipping companies, the RMI registry is in the business of running a high-quality and sustainable flag. We pride ourselves on our proactive approach to our shipowning customers, whether this means practical advice on ensuring that a ship meets Port State Control standards or addressing our owners and operators concerns in the development of international regulation, we provide a high level of support from any of our 27 worldwide offices," he concluded.
In September, the registry established a dedicated team of experts to guide shipowners through the complications of complying with the recently ratified Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC).
The RMI will be supporting proposals at the IMO's MEPC 70 meeting for a delay of BWTS installation on some existing vessels. "We are committed to working with the industry to find practicable solutions to the convention requirements," said Gallagher.