The Liberian Registry has initiated a number of cost-saving options for shipowners over the last month, including fee waivers, annual tonnage tax and fee deferrals for reflagging cold stacked vessels, free initial certification and mortgage recording for newbuilds and vessels flagging in, and a variety of policies intended to reduce transaction expenses for entering the registry. On Wednesday, at Posidonia, the registry also announced that it will be adding another class of incentives: a discount for cleaner ships certified under the third-party, independent Green Award program.
Green Award also added Alphatron Marine to its roster of incentive providers; Alphatron will give a 10 percent discount on its bridge system integration services.
Liberia, an open registry, is the world's second-largest flag state after Panama; it ranks at number 21 on the Paris MOU white list and at number 16 on the Tokyo MOU white list. The registry will be the first flag state to join the Green Award program as an incentive provider for shipowners: it will offer a three percent discount on annual tonnage tax to Green Award-certified ships, continuously, for each year that a vessel remains listed in the program.
Scott Bergeron, CEO of LISCR, the US-based manager of the Liberian ship registry and corporate registry, said that the Green Award initiative “provides further confirmation of the pioneering role adopted by Liberia in all areas of global shipping, and underlines its commitment to environmental compliance by striving to ensure that Liberia remains the greenest fleet afloat.”
Other open registry flag state competitors also offer incentives, especially for larger ships. Panama's registry began offering a series of discounts for shipowners in 2014, including one year of free registration, investigation and inspection fees for vessels over 10,000 dwt – and for two years for vessels which had departed the registry and wished to return. As of last year, it increased the discount period to three years at 50 percent off the base price on registration, tonnage tax, inspection and investigation, plus 50 percent off of seafarer certifications for crews of Panama-flagged passenger ships. Registration discounts for fleets and for Panamanian holding companies have been available for some time.