Due to globalisation, shipping continues to play a vital role in the world economy and the maritime industry is now a huge industry. There are in the region of 50,000 merchant ships operating throughout the world comprising of a variety of ship types such as bulk carriers, tankers, container ships, and general cargo vessels, multi-purpose ships, car carriers, roll on-roll off vessels, gas carriers, cruise ships, offshore service vessels and many more.
In the same way that the car manufacturers and the aviation industry look to design and manufacture bigger, better and more cost effective cars and airliners, naval architects and shipbuilders continue to push the boundaries to develop even larger more efficient types of ships.
Global warming, safety, and marine pollution constantly appear in the news headlines, especially when there is an oil spill and damage to marine life is witnessed. As a result the maritime industry is under constant scrutiny. This has resulted in an increase in the number of Conventions and rules and regulations being introduced into the maritime industry regulated by the IMO with input from various bodies such as IACS, ISO, ILO, and numerous Maritime Administrations around the world. Additionally, more and more training has become available to those working in the marine industry to try to ensure that those involved are properly trained.
In the UK for example Lloyd’s Maritime Academy offers a wide variety of distance learning courses such as a diploma in Maritime Business Management, an MBA in Shipping & Logistics, and a Certificate in Maritime Safety Management to name just a few. There are also colleges and universities where marine engineering, naval architecture and a variety of courses aimed at those wanting to work in the maritime industry are offered. However, what does not appear to be available is a course for Registrars and their staff.
The role of a Registrar is varied. They need a wide ranging skillset to meet all the challenges faced in the running of a successful ship registry and to provide all the services that his clients expect. Not only does a Registrar need to understand the procedures of ship registration, they also needs to know the rules and regulations applicable to the variety of ship types and how they may vary depending on the areas in which a ship trades. A Registrar will need to have the knowledge of maritime law, compliance and enforcement, marine accident investigation, detentions and inspections procedures, finance, IT and a variety of other skills that are necessary to carry out his function. Furthermore, if the native language is not English, they will need to be bi-lingual as there is a need to issue circulars, marine notices, and they will also need good communication skills to deal with both clients and staff.
For a larger ship registry this may not be such a problem as more specialist staff can be employed to deal with certain areas of the operation of the registry. For example the registry may have an in house IT department and legal team. For the small registry however, such a luxury may not be affordable. While the number of ships and clients that need to be looked after may be smaller, the registry still needs to provide the same level of expertise. To expect the Registrar of a small ship registry to have all this knowledge seems to be rather unfair, if not unrealistic. To expect them to attain all the skills required without any formal training other than that which he gained prior to becoming a Registrar is expecting a lot. Is it therefore any wonder why there is seen to be a disparity in performance between the various registries if no standardised training is offered for a Registrar?
For our part, we aim to offer a platform that affords a Registrar the ability to access fleet performance data, issue the required certification and have in-depth reporting available to meet all his various reporting requirements. Additionally by offering a fully managed service, we remove the hassle of software upgrades and the need of any technical expertise or an IT department.