[INTERVIEW] Mr. Gerry Buchanan talks about the Liberian Registry, Flag Of Convenience & Open Registers.

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Mr. Gerry Buchanan talks about the Liberian Registry, Flag Of Convenience & Open Registers.

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In an exclusive interview with MFAME team, Mr. Gerry Buchanan talks about his role as a Managing Director with Liberian Registry, selecting a Flag for a vessel and Open Registers.  Located in Hong Kong, the Managing Director of a 67 year old ship Registry, Mr. Buchanan revealed a splendid array of statistics about Liberian Registry which has recently surpassed over 4,000 ships under its Flag.

About- Mr. Gerry Buchanan – Speed Read:

  • Mr. Buchanan graduated from Glasgow Nautical College and obtained a First Class Engineer’s license for the both steam and motor ships.
  • He has an extensive experience in the Management and Operation of a wide array of ships.  He has over 40 years of shipping experience, holding various senior positions in the spheres of Operating, Engineering and Management.  
  • Mr. Buchanan sailed as a Chief Engineer with Denholm Ship Management from 1969 to 1982.  He was a Superintendent Engineer of Denholm Ship Management’s United Kingdom office from 1982 to 1986.
  • He also managed an oceanographic research vessel for NATO from 1986 to 1990 and among his industry affiliations, Mr. Buchanan was a member of the International Committee for Gard Protection & Indemnity Association.
  • After successful careers with Denholm Ship Management and Canada Steamship Lines, he was appointed as Managing Director of Wallem Ship Management in Hong Kong, which is one of the leading ship management company.  He was responsible for the safe and efficient operations of close to 200 vessels, as well as management of approximately 500 onshore and seagoing staff.
  • In 2005, he was appointed as the President of Genco Shipping & Trading, where he joined the team that oversaw the company’s  transition from a private entity to a publicly traded company on first NASDQ and then the New York Stock Exchange.
  • He is currently located in Hong Kong, heading LISCR as a Managing Director.

Q1. Mr.Buchanan, you have now taken over as Managing Director of Liberian Registry (http://www.liscr.com/liscr/).  We wish you every success in this new assignment.  Can you briefly detail your responsibilities?

Thank you for your good wishes.  As Managing Director of LISCR in Hong Kong my responsibilities are to attend to the service needs of the shipowners who utilize the Liberian flag and to attract quality tonnage to the Registry.  My area of responsibility is not confined to Hong Kong but anywhere that the Registry requires me to be.

Q2. How do you compare various flags of convenience? What in your opinion are the criteria? If someone would like to make a decision on Flag, what are the main points they have to consider?

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Firstly, I would point out that the term flag of convenience is an outdated description used primarily for political reasons and for dramatic effect. It has long since been superseded in more even-handed dialogue by the infinitely more accurate termopen registers’.

Modern, enlightened thinking is increasingly being applied to the evaluation of ship registers, with safety and service the essential criteria to be consistently met. In today’s tightly regulated and closely monitored shipping industry, those registers which are growing in size through the addition of quality tonnage, and which continue to excel in Port State Control and other performance-related data, are setting the standards for others to follow.

The Liberian Registry is 67 years old this year and stronger in every respect than at any time in its history. Liberia has recently surpassed all time tonnage records with a registered fleet of approximately 4,000 ships, aggregating more than 135m gross tons, with an average age of 12 years.  Quality owners choose Liberia because of its high standards. We are committed to sustaining and further developing those standards, and to operating a ship registry that both serves and protects the long-term interests of shipowners, the seafarers who serve on the ships and the global environment which we all operate in.

Liberia is internationally renowned as the quality registry. Liberia has a long-established track record of combining the highest standards for vessels and crews with the highest standards of responsive service to owners. Liberia is featured on the White List of all Port State Control  Memorandums of Understanding, worldwide, and is included in the US Coast Guard’s QUALSHIP (Quality Shipping for the 21st Century) program, to which only a small percentage of foreign-flag ships calling at US ports are admitted, based on the excellence of their port state control record. Moreover, the annual Shipping Industry Flag State Performance Table, published by the International Chamber of Shipping and the International Shipping Federation, awarded Liberia positive performance indicators in every category covered by the report – including port state control, ratification of major international maritime treaties, use of compliant recognized organizations, age of fleet, reporting requirements, and attendance at IMO meetings.

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We regard this as the single largest independent endorsement of Liberia’s commitment to quality and safety.  Our outstanding PSC record means that Liberian-flag ships suffer fewer delays and inspections than those ships registered with other flags which cannot point to a comparable PSC performance record.  And of course, that is very important when it comes to attracting new owners and operators.  We do not want poorly managed ships on the Registry and prospective new customers do not want to join a registry that encourages them.

Q3. We find certain countries favor certain flags.  Is there any reason for this? There is also a pattern in which certain types of ships go with certain flags.  Can you enlighten us as to why this happens?

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I would say that favoring a flag is the choice of the shipowner no matter in which country he is domiciled.  I have explained in Q2  what we feel are the reasons why a shipowner choses a flag and where Liberia stands in this criteria.  This also applies to the second part of your question regarding types of ships with certain flags.  For example Liberia has been considered as atanker flag due to the highest level of experience and technical background of its staff.  Liberia controls 14.6 percent of the world’s total tanker fleet (in dwt terms), thereby making it the number one flag of choice for the industry’s top oil majors.  More than 30 percent of the almost 600 oil tankers owned by Greek interests, fly the Liberian Flag.  

Q4. What are your plans for the Liberian Register for the next 5-10 years? How do you propose to achieve these plans?

My plans for the Liberian Register in Hong Kong is to grow the business as much as possible by attracting quality tonnage.

Mr. Buchanan commented -“I relish the challenge of joining the world’s most innovative and responsive ship registry, helping it strengthen still further its position in an area of strategic importance for international trade and shipping. Hong Kong is a ship management stronghold, and I am looking forward to using my contacts, knowledge and experience to the advantage of the Liberian Registry and the continually growing number of shipowners whose vessels fly the Liberian flag“.

– MFAME.

We thank Mr. Gerry Buchanan for his time and interesting insights on Liberian Registry, his expert views on “Flag Of Convenience” and “Open Registers”. 

MFAME Team.

Disclaimer: No Part of this Interview/contents/Opinion expressed shall be used by any means without prior permission from MFAME editors.  Alternatively you can provide a hyperlink with prior permission from MFAME team.  Images used in this interview are for conceptual purpose only.  Complete credits to LISCR for images and other resources from google search.

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