The Liberian Registry is the second largest in the world, with over 3200 ships of more than 100 million gross tons, which represents 10 percent of the world’s ocean-going fleet. As the world’s premier open ship registry, the Liberian Maritime Program is renowned for quality, efficiency, safety and service. Liberia is recognized at the top of every industry “white-list” including the International Maritime Organization and the major Port State Control authorities such as the US Coast Guard and the Paris and Tokyo MOU regimes. According to the U.S. Maritime Administration, Liberian flagged vessels carry more than one-third of the oil imported into the United States.
The Liberian Registry is administered by the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR, LLC), a U.S. owned and operated company that provides the day-to-day management for the Republic of Liberia's ship and corporate registry. LISCR is recognized globally for its professionalism and commitment to safe and secure shipping as well as its proficient administration of one of the most convenient, efficient, and tax effective offshore corporate registries in the world. The Liberian Registry, headquartered in Vienna, Virginia (outside Washington, D.C.) maintains offices in New York, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Leer, London, Piraeus, Tokyo, Zurich, Singapore and Monrovia.
The Registry provides its clients with 24-hour service making it the value-added partner for quality shipowners and shipmanagers in the demanding environment of the global shipping industry. In addition to its regional offices in the major maritime centers of the world, the Liberian Registry is also supported by a worldwide network of over 220 Nautical Inspectors and 120 qualified Security and Safety Auditors. This global infrastructure ensures that there is always someone available to provide assistance and service anywhere in the world.
Advantages of the Liberian Registry
• Shipping Industry Leader
• Quality reputation - White Listed in Every Port State Control Jurisdiction
• Recognized for Quality by Oil Majors, OCIMF, CDI and Rightship Inspection Regimes
• Global Service Network – Experienced, Responsive & Practical
• Staff of Shipping Experts, Not Bureaucrats
• Technical Innovations
History of Liberia's Maritime Program
Located in western Africa bordering the North Atlantic Ocean between Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone, Liberia was established in 1847 by freed American slaves. The only African country to have escaped European colonization, it is a member of the OAU, the UN, the IMO and the ILO. English is the official language, and the capital is Monrovia. There is a dual system of statutory law based on Anglo-American common law and customary law based on unwritten tribal practices for indigenous sector.
The Liberian Registry, established in 1948 by former U.S. Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, is recognized asone of the foremost open ship and corporate registries. During the past 61 years, the country's commitment to safe shipping has remained steadfast.
The Liberian Registry is a sovereign maritime jurisdiction responsible for the registration, regulatory enforcement, and safety of ocean-going ships. The Registry establishes identification details for ships and records legally enforceable documents, such as mortgages and bills of sale.
The Registry is also responsible for the enforcement of maritime treaties, including Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS); Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL); and the Standards for Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). The Ship Registry runs in parallel with the Liberian Corporate Registry, which performs the same functions as the corporate registration service of any other government.
Since its inception, the Liberian Registry has been operated from the United States. This further strengthens the U.S.-Liberia alliance and provides the Registry the ability to participate in the international arena with key industry institutions such as the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Liberian Registry is strong and growing. Since the beginning of 2001, the Registry has expanded by nearly 50 million gross tons. The dedication and commitment of quality owners bringing in new acquisitions and new construction vessels ensures that this trend will continue.
Benefits of the Liberian Registry
Vessel Construction: The Liberian Registry does not require vessels to be constructed by a particular nation. Shipowners have the freedom to search and solicit shipbuilders solely on commercial considerations, such as competence, experience, and price.
Vessel Manning: Manning requirements specified by the Liberian Registry are based exclusively on competence, international recognition and safe operation. Many national registries require manning by citizens of the country of registry. This promotes higher wages, inflated labour costs and overheads, excessive bureaucracy, and the potential for interference from organized labour.
Harmonized Audits: The Liberian Registry is the first and so far the only major open registry to have trained a worldwide network of lead auditors in both the International Safety Management (ISM) and International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Codes.
Ship Financing: The mortgage-recording regime of the Liberian Register is internationally recognized and acceptable to banks from many jurisdictions, allowing the best opportunity to obtain the most favourable financing.
Ease of Registration: The pre-registration formalities are user friendly, designed to meet international standards in relation to safety and documentation but not to delay operations. Bareboat registration in and out is permitted and no restraints are placed on a ship wishing to transfer out of the register.
Asset Protection / Ownership Flexibility: Unlike many national registers, the Liberian Registry recognizes the need and actively protects the opportunities for asset protection. The Corporate Register of Liberia allows the use of and maintains the integrity of single purpose corporate vehicles. Likewise, the Corporate Register must continue to offer flexible corporate vehicles to ensure that specific ownership options are available to meet the needs of the multitude of shipowning structures.
Tax Sensible Jurisdiction: Vessels in the Liberian Registry are taxed annually with a fixed fee based on the net tonnage of the vessel. Similarly, Liberian Corporations have a fixed annual tax. Taxes on operations and profit are not assessed.
Double Taxation Treaties: Double taxation is avoided in nearly all major shipping business areas due to tax recognition treaties established between Liberia and most countries.
Acceptable Flag for EU Tonnage Tax Schemes: The Liberian Flag is an acceptable choice for many of the new Tonnage Tax Schemes currently being offered in the EU, including the UK, German and Dutch tax systems.
Depreciation Principles: Ocean shipping requires the use of capital-intensive investments. Due to the varying market conditions and demand for ocean transportation services, many shipowners have difficult years without profit. With recognition of alternative jurisdictions, Liberia offers depreciation alternatives not available with most national registers. This in turn allows flexibility with respect to Profit & Loss reporting.
Vessel Surveys: Liberia has authorized qualifying classification societies to conduct the full range of statutory surveys during attendance for routine classification surveys. Qualifying classification societies are not restricted to a particular national society. This provides cost savings, reduction of bureaucracy and operational/scheduling flexibility for shipowners.
Customer Service: The Liberian Registry is administered by a U.S. owned and operated company and managed by industry professionals who understand the business of shipping. Likewise, significant investments in technology are being made to ensure superior service and convenience. In addition to the Registry’s offices located in major shipping centers, there is also a network of over 220 nautical inspectors, who are available to attend vessels when needed.
Safe and Quality Reputation: Year in and year out, the independent statistics of underwriters, Port State Control Authorities, seafarer advocates and salvage institutions all recognize Liberia as having a quality reputation of standards.
Security: The post-9/11 world has brought new responsibilities for commercial shipping and maritime administrations. The Liberian Registry has been on the leading edge of the development and implementation of the IMO’s ISPS Code. Liberia believes in a practical and low-cost approach to ensuring security conscious shipping. A network of approximately 100 security inspectors attends vessels when needed.
Adoption and Enforcement of International Regulations: Participation in the UN bodies of the International Maritime Organization and the International Labour Organization is another important factor for respectable ship registries. Liberia is known for its international involvement in ensuring the development of practical new regulations when necessary. Likewise, Liberia ratifies important conventions, enacts domestic legislation in support of safety, pollution prevention and seafarers’ welfare and ensures equitable enforcement of these scriptures.
Liberian Shipowners’ Council (LSC): Liberia is one of the few open registries with an independent shipowners' council. The LSC provides member shipowners with a venue to monitor and address problems facing the industry and to share and exchange information and ideas. The LSC is also a member of the International Chamber of Shipping, and the International Shipping Federation (the only maritime employer association who can represent shipowners at the International Labour Organization). As such, Liberian Shipowners are able to benefit from the valuable services of this leading industry institution.
Pricing: The Liberian Registry offers professional service at a competitive price. Savings realized by use of technology are passed back to clients of the Registry.