The UK Ship Register heads the Paris MoU 2020 - 2021 Port State Control list

01 July 2020


The UK Ship Register is officially the best performing flag state in the world according to the 2020 – 2021 Paris MoU league table published today.

The Paris MoU is the leading league table ranking the world’s principal flag states based on the total number of inspections and detentions over a three-year rolling period.

Katy Ware, director of maritime safety and standards, as well as being the UK’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization said it was good news for all those who had worked hard to maintain UK standards. She said: “This shows that what you put in, you get out. We’ve worked with industry to improve those standards and our surveyors continue to apply them at high levels. “It’s a great moment to see our name at the top of the list and we will continue to strive to make sure our standards remain at this same high level.’

The Paris MoU is one of ten regional port state control regimes that were established to enable countries to inspect foreign registered vessels in port and take action against vessels that are deemed to be unseaworthy and/or outside of compliance with the requirements of applicable international conventions.

Inspections by Port State Control Officers involve checking the condition of a vessel and its equipment and checking that the vessel is manned and operated in compliance with applicable international law.

Although Port State Control in a yachting context applies to commercial yachts holding load line certification rather than private yachts the system does nonetheless provide the yacht owner of the quality of a potential flag that they might be registering to.

There are a bewildering number of registries directly and third party service providers indirectly promoting the advantages of various yacht registration jurisdictions as the best place for an owner to register their yacht. With the registries and their promoters all claiming to be the best registration for your yachts the Port State Control tables provide a useful guide to the good, the bad and the downright ugly registration jurisdictions.

The Paris MoU which contains the “White, Grey and Black list”. The White list sets out low risk quality flags, the Grey list sets out medium risk intermediate flag states whilst the Black list sets out poorly performing flag states that are considered high or very high risk. It is based on the total number of inspections and detentions over a 3-year rolling period for flags with at least 30 inspections in the period.

The Current Paris MoU is in force from today until the 30thJune, 2021. Port State Control authorities will use the list for determining which flags will require a greater number of inspections.

To place the Paris MoU in a yachting context we have listed below the principal yacht registries in featuring in the Paris MoU in order of their appearance in the table listing their rank overall and highlighting whether they appear on the White, Grey or Black list:

 WHITE LIST (i.e. low risk quality flags):

 1. United Kingdom

6. Marshall Islands

12. Cayman Islands

16. Isle of Man

17. Malta

GREY LIST  (i.e. medium risk intermediate flag states):

44. Poland

52. Switzerland

BLACK LIST (i.e. poorly performing flag states that are considered high or very high risk):

59. Cook Islands

60. Saint Kitts & Nevis

63. Belize

Oceanskies specialises in the registration of yachts in all of the main yacht registry jurisdictions Please use the following link to access our online flag selector tool to help determine the best flag for your yacht (note that no ‘Black List’ flags will be suggested!):


Flag FInder



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