The Maritime and Port Bureau (MPB) of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) stated today (24th) that a letter of congratulations was received from the United States Coast Guard (USCG) yesterday. In this letter, besides congratulating Taiwan for receiving this honor for the second consecutive years, the USCG also stated that it has accepted the updates to the “Voluntary Audit Information” and “Self-Evaluation Information” related to Taiwan. The USCG had already announced that Taiwan qualifies as a Qualship 21 Flag state when it published the 2019 Port State Control Annual Report on May 5th of this year and had sent a letter to Taiwan requesting the update of information. Subsequently, Taiwan submitted the aforementioned information on July 22nd and the US immediately approved and published the information on the USCG website. Due to this honor, inspections of Taiwanese vessels in American ports will be greatly reduced to once every three years before June 30, 2021. Furthermore, this new regulation will strengthen the development of Taiwan-US trade, reduce port times for Taiwanese vessels, and greatly improve the efficiency of vessel operations.
The USCG implemented the Qualship 21 program on January 1st, 2001. In this program, USCG evaluates the vessel management performance of other nations using the decrease of inspections for foreign vessels as an incentive. In this way, the USCG’s inspection efforts at domestic ports can be invested into vessels in poor condition or that are poorly managed to protect seafarer benefits, personnel safety, and ensure that the ocean environment is not damaged. Additionally, it is well known that the selection criteria for this program is extremely rigorous. The vessels belonging to the flag state must undergo 10 inspections per year for 3 years, the average detention rate of the vessels must be under 1%, the flag state performance self-evaluation report must be completed, and International Maritime Organization audits must be implemented for the nation to be certified as an excellent flag state.
MPB Director-General Tien-Kuei Kuo stated that although Taiwan is not a member country of the United Nations, shipping is still part of the international transportation industry so vessel management must be conducted according to international standards. Currently, Taiwanese vessels traveling to and from the US have been inspected 53 times over the last 3 years by the USCG with all vessels passing the inspections at a detention rate of 0%. This shows that Taiwanese vessels have earned the approval of US officials for maritime safety and ocean environmental protection. Furthermore, Taiwan was awarded the certification for the first time last year and has earned the certification again this year along with 23 other nations including Canada, Germany, Japan. Additionally, Taiwan is one of the few Asian countries to be certified two years in a row. In partnership with the CR Classification Society, the MPB will continue to promote operations to strengthen and refine vessel management, thereby allowing Taiwanese vessels to gain international recognition and enabling Taiwan to maintain its performance in Qualship 21.
Contact person: Vessel Management Division Section Chief Yu-Hsin Huang
Contact number: 02-897-82625