The Liberian Registry continues to adjust to the disruptions caused by COVID-19 by leveraging its use of technology and modern communication. The latest innovation from Liberia is the implementation of remote Annual Safety Inspections (ASI) aboard their ships. The option to use remote inspections is a direct response to the major restrictions faced by dispatching inspectors aboard ships, under the current health guidelines and restrictions around the globe. This is just the next in series of contingency measures implemented in the past few weeks as COVID-19 has ravaged its way across the globe. Liberia led the way as the first flag State to allow remote vessel closings and instrument recordation, remote Class surveys, and now this Remote Annual Safety Inspection programme.
The Registry successfully completed the first remote ASI this past week. Liberia’s qualified inspection team was able to liaise with the ship’s crew remotely via web-based video communication and review the ASI checklist, check documents, check safety equipment, review drills, and inspect the condition of the vessels and functionality of the safety equipment; all without putting the health of crew and inspector at risk due to possible exposure.
Liberia has long been known as the leading flag State for advanced technologies. With over ten years of experience in electronic certificates, application systems, and client-focused portals, the Registry has always taken technological innovations to the next level as it has led the way in adapting to the challenges facing the maritime industry.
In addition to allowing the flexibility to extend surveys, drydockings, credentials, and other certificates, the Registry understands the important need, and duty of the flag State, to maintain effective oversight over its fleet and ensure the seaworthiness and safety of its vessels and seafarers, and compliance with international conventions. That is why so much effort was put into coming up with a comprehensive remote inspection checklist and procedure.
Chief Operating Officer of the Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry (LISCR), Alfonso Castillero states, “I have to applaud our very experienced and knowledgeable Inspections team for their very practical and real-world solution, which ensures that the flag State is able to carry out its obligation of safety oversight of its fleet in a way that is not burdensome to the vessels, nor puts the health of the crew and inspectors in jeopardy. Flag States must still maintain a culture of safety and oversight over their vessels, especially given the current state of the industry with crews not able to be repatriated timely, and sailing for extended periods in excess of what is allowed. We feel for our seafarers at sea, and for the operators ashore, that are doing their utmost to ensure the safe operation of their vessels in such unprecedented circumstances. We will always use technology in a positive, proactive, and common-sense way. Honestly, I am surprised that more Flag States are not doing the same already, but I am sure most will soon follow. We have to embrace new ways of doing business, yet maintaining safety.”