Hong Kong became among the six flag administrations added this year to the Qualship 21 programme.
A Marine Department spokesman said that the USCG recognised Hong Kong as a quality flag under the programme because Hong Kong-registered ships visiting US ports had performed excellently in PSC inspections in the past three years.
The Qualship 21 programme aims to eliminate the operation of substandard ships by providing incentives to owners who maintain quality operations. Ships qualified under the programme are subject to fewer PSC inspections by the USCG while in US waters.
A flag state qualifies for Qualship 21 status after its ships have attained a USCG Port State Control three years' rolling average detention ratio of less than 1.0 per cent, with at least 10 distinct arrivals each year. In addition, the flag state shall have undergone the International Maritime Organization's Voluntary Member State Audit Scheme with effective implementation of corrective actions.
It is estimated that about 5 per cent of the foreign-flagged ships calling at the US qualify for this initiative.
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