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Low Risk Ships

The Cayman Islands, spearheaded by the Maritime Authority, successfully underwent an audit under the Voluntary International Maritime Organization (IMO) Member State Audit Scheme (VIMSAS) in June 2011. The audit, which is conducted by a number of specialist IMO appointed auditors, assesses the degree and effectiveness of a member states’ implementation of the international maritime Treaties and Conventions. These Treaties and Conventions govern the way ships and operators comply with international regulatory requirements. The scope of the VIMSAS Audit covers the full range of member state responsibilities including coastal state, port state and flag state matters and it is a very comprehensive assessment covering a wide range of governmental agencies.

It is widely regarded that the effectiveness of a member states’ implementation of the international requirements has a direct influence on the standard of its ships, as measured under the system of Port State Control.  The Port State Control regime was implemented by the IMO to combat sub-standard shipping and demands that the ships of an IMO member state are inspected in a foreign port to ensure compliance with the international requirements thus reducing the effect of the so called ‘flags of convenience’.

As a measure of the importance placed on VIMSAS by the international maritime community, the completion of the audit is used as a benchmark by the major Port State Memoranda of Understandings (MOUs) in Paris and United States Coast Guard to indicate that the ships flying the flag are classified as low risk ships. This essentially means that such ships are assigned a low priority for inspection in the Port State Control targeting system, which defines which ships will be inspected when visiting a foreign port.

Prior to the completion of the VIMSAS Audit, the Cayman Islands were included in the top tier (whitelist) of the major Port State Control MOU ranking systems and with the submission of the final report for the VIMSAS Audit, the white-list status is augmented by the designation of low risk, a major achievement and a significant benefit to the ships that fly the Cayman Islands Flag.

The Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands is the parent organization of the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry (CISR).  The CISR has representation in 12 locations globally: George Town, Grand Cayman - Head Office; European Regional Office - Southampton, UK; London; Ft. Lauderdale; Monaco; France; Greece; Italy; The Netherlands; Singapore; Hong Kong and Japan.  This global service network ensures CISR’s ability to effectively serve its international clientele.  The Registry currently has on its register approximately 1500 pleasure vessels (including charter yachts) and 300 merchant ships and is the flag of choice for large yachts.  Established in 1903, when George Town was first established as a port of registry, the historic Cayman Islands Shipping Registry today continues to carry on Cayman’s maritime tradition around the globe.


For further information contact: Corporate Communications