We have almost come to the end of 2018 and here’s how we have progressed thus far.

Fleet growth
As of October 2018, our fleet grew by 4.85%; from 577 vessels in 2017 to 605 vessels.

Our gross tonnage (GT) is currently at 1,499,949, and average age of vessel is at 16 years, from 16.96 in 2017.

More collaboration with other government agencies
Following the success of the Cook Islands Maritime Careers Expo on Day of the Seafarer 2018 and the Cook Islands Domestic Shipping Workshop in September this year, MCI is looking towards organising more collaborative initiatives with other government agencies including Cook Islands Ministry of Transport, Cook Islands Ports Authority, Cook Islands Maritime Surveillance and Cook Islands Tourism – for the maritime community in the Cook Islands.

Promoting women in the maritime sector
In September 2018, Maritime Training Advisor Ore Toua was in the Cook Islands and met with CIWiMA (Cook Islands Women in Maritime Association) to discuss on the Regional Strategy for Women in Maritime. The Secretariat of the Pacific Community started a Domestic Ship Safety Training with local stakeholders and in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport.

MCI CEO, Glenn Armstrong said: “The progress for the ship registry so far has been encouraging, with more significant growth this year despite prevailing market challenges. Here’s to a great last quarter!”



In early July, MCI’s Registrar of Ships, Moeroa Mamanu-Matheson, attended the two-day UN Sanctions Conference in Suva, Fiji.

Organised by Vertic, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey & King’s College London, the conference titled ‘Implementing UN Security Council Resolutions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’ was well-attended by flag registry stakeholders from over 12 countries.

Goals of the workshop:
– Share methods used by the DPRK to evade UNSCRs
– Identify gaps in capacity to prevent, detect, and interdict elicit vessels and goods
– Increase understanding of regulatory and operational roles
– Identify interagency and opportunities for sharing of resources and information within the Pacific Island region to effectively enforce the UNSCRs
– Share experiences between the Pacific Island Countries regarding their registry processes and procedures and challenges encountered relating to interpretation and implementation of UNSCRs

Some of the topics discussed during Day 1:
– The importance of preventing North Korea exploitation of flag registries: the evolution of UN sanctions on North Korea, and obligations for flag registries and consequences
– Obligations for Flag Registries and Consequences
– North Korea Sanctions Evasion Tactics: An Overview – The Implications for Shipping Registries

Some of the topics discussed during Day 2:
– Conducting due diligence at application stage (when a vessel first applies to use a flag)
– Conducting due diligence for vessels already on the registry



Maritime Cook Islands (“MCI”), commemorated Day of the Seafarer 2018 with the first Cook Islands Maritime Careers Expo.

The ship registry initiated and organised the event together with several Cook Islands government bodies including Cook Islands Ministry of Education, Ports Authority and Cook Islands Tourism.

The event, held at Avatiu Wharf, allowed attendees to explore a spectrum of career opportunities that are available within the maritime industry, both locally and internationally.

Attended by over 900 students from Rarotonga and 23 flown in from nearby island Aitatuki, the students gained insights on the qualifications and skills requirements, as well as the career progression for each respective maritime role.

Exhibitors at the expo included:

1. Cook Islands Ports Authority
2. Ministry of Marine Resources
3. Cook Islands Maritime Surveillance
4. Seabed Minerals Authority
5. Marae Moana
6. National Environment Service
7. Cook Islands Yacht Squadron
8. Cook Islands Women in Maritime
9. Cook Islands Ship Owners Association
10. Cook Islands Voyaging Society
11. Canoeing Association
12. Sailing Cook Islands
13. Cook Islands Chef Association
14. Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute
15. Rongohiva
16. Bluewater Adventures Fishing Charters
17. Taio Shipping (Maungaroa II)
18. Blue Sky
19. Pacific Divers
20. New Zealand Navy

MCI CEO Glenn Armstrong said: “This careers expo is an extension of our previous efforts in engaging with the youth – to further harness their interest and knowledge of the shipping industry.”

He added: “With the involvement of other government departments, we were able to deliver a more holistic programme for the students, as well as for the general public. More than just promoting careers in maritime, we chose the Day of the Seafarer to at the same time acknowledge and recognise the contributions of seafarers worldwide.”



MCI’s Technical Manager Brendan Smith, in July, attended the 26th Seminar for Port State Control Officer in the Asia-Pacific Region and Workshop on Effective Implementation of International Conventions which was held in Langkawi, Malaysia.

Jointly organised by Malaysia Marine Department and Tokyo MoU, with support from IMO and The Nippon Foundation, the five-day seminar/workshop which saw the participation of over 50 industry experts and professionals, discussed on a broad array of topics including:

– Recent developments on the Tokyo MoU
– Results of Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) on Safety of Navigation
– Guidelines for the inspection of non-convention ships
– Guidelines for MARPOL Annex V, VI
– APCIS functionalities

More photos from the seminar below:



MCI CEO Glenn Armstrong attended the 19th Session of Asia Pacific Heads of Maritime Safety Agencies (APHoMSA), which was held earlier this year in April.

The 4-day forum which took place at Sheraton Miramar Hotel in Vina del Mar, Chile, brought together senior maritime officials from over 24 countries and international organizations to discuss and identify areas which needs to be addressed for a safer, secure shipping and a cleaner maritime environment.

Topics that were discussed at this year’s forum included:

a. Protection of the marine environment
Addressing EU’s call for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping, the members weighed on the possible strategies to reduce such pollutive emissions. Issues of waste management from ships were also highlighted, along with the implementation of the Convention related to the protection of the marine environment.

b. Maritime safety and issues related to mariners
There was an exchange of information on maritime safety, as well as solutions to improve maritime safety for vessels,

With the advent of technology, the officials talked about the next-generation maritime safety system and building of e-Navigation, a strategy developed by the IMO to improve storage of marine information in an organized manner.

c. Handling maritime accidents
In a bid to rally international cooperation in the investigation of marine accidents, the representative of the various member countries shared on maritime accidents / search and rescue at sea, they experienced or know of.

d. Technical cooperation in the area
The members highlighted the need to establish a better technical cooperation in the region; between the various countries as well as industry organizations.

The next session of APHoMSA will take place in The Republic of Korea.




In Ship Management’s May/June 2018 issue, MCI CEO Glenn Armstrong shared his insights on the current state of the ship registries market.

“Rising fuel costs and looming interest rate rises, combined with ever-increasing compliance costs – not to mention the possibility of a trade war impacting on freight volumes – are making it difficult for ship owners to have too much confidence about the immediate future,” he said.

Glenn also highlighted on the changing role of ship registries, to that of a trusted advisor.

To read more from Glenn and the other ship registries, click here for the full ship registries report.



It has been an incredible year of meetings at International Maritime Organisation (IMO), all in the spirit of promoting a safe, clean and secure maritime environment. Below are the IMO meetings our MCI colleagues have attended this year:



On 31st August 2018, MCI organised the Cook Islands Domestic Shipping Workshop, a joint initiative with the Cook Islands Ministry of Transport, Cook Islands Ports Authority, Cook Islands Maritime Surveillance and Cook Islands Tourism.

The full-day workshop aims to seek improvements in domestic shipping – establishing the respective roles and responsibilities of each government agency, pertaining to maritime safety and the protection of the maritime environment with respect to domestic shipping.

Attended by the key personnel for the respective agency, the workshop also addressed amongst other issues, including vessel survey and certfication, licensing and establishment of domestic standards, as well as small craft regulations and ship manifests.

Following a discussion on Port State Control, as well as vessel tracking and enforcement, Ministry of Transport Secretary Ned Howard, together with MCI CEO Glenn Armstrong conducted a review on regulatory compliance attendance at Workshops before wrapping up the workshop.

Here’s to a better domestic shipping environment!



Photo source: Facebook, Cook Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Immigration

Pacific Forum Leaders, in September, welcomed the increased air surveillance capacity of the new Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) Aerial Surveillance Program funded by Australia under the Pacific Maritime Security Program (PMSP).

Held at Nauru International Airport, leaders inspected one of the two Kind Air200 aircraft, fitted with high tech sensor, avionics and communications technologies capable of detecting fishing vessels across the ocean.

“The Aerial Surveillance ensures we have more Pacific eyes in the sky on fisheries activity across the exclusive economic zones of our Pacific member nations,” says FFA Director General James Movick. “Today is an exciting milestone for fisheries surveillance, as well as broader law enforcement supporting the protection of our oceanic resources for the benefit of our people.”

Chair of the Forum Fisheries Committee, Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna, in launching the program, commended the efforts of those involved in bringing the initiative to fruition, heralding “a new era in Pacific maritime security capability.”

“On behalf of Leaders, I acknowledge with gratitude Australia’s 30-year support towards our region’s maritime surveillance capacity, initially through the Pacific Patrol Boat program and now this added capability of aerial surveillance. This program has given regional governments the confidence to add the services of civilian contractors to our on-going support from the QUADS (defence assets of Australia, France, New Zealand and the United States).”

Read more here.



The Cook Islands flag, operated by ship registry Maritime Cook Islands (MCI), has shown positive flag state performance, as reported in the latest report on Port State Control in the Asia Pacific Region by Tokyo MOU.

Source: Tokyo MOU Annual Report (2016/2017)

In the recently published report, Cook Islands reported a decrease in the number of inspections with deficiencies; from 27 in 2016 to 20 in 2017. Number of deficiencies has also seen a significant decrease from 181 in 2016 to 116 in 2017.

Source: Tokyo MOU Annual Report (2016/2017)

The report also showed a significant decrease in the flag’s 3-year excess factor from 0.87 in 2016 to 0.60 in 2017.

Another Flag State Performance Table by The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) which was released earlier this year also showed positive progress by the flag.

The table presents performance of individual flag states, analysing each flag administration’s performance based on several criteria including Port State Control records, ratification of international maritime conventions, use of Recognised Organisations complying with A.739, attendance at IMO meetings and newly-added criteria on participation in ‘IMO Member State Audit Scheme’.

Under the IMO criteria, the table above indicates Cook Islands’ effective adherence to all applicable mandatory IMO instruments covered by the IMO Audit Scheme, as well as Cook Islands’ commitment to the implementation and enforcement of IMO rules – reflected in the regular attendance of Capt. Ian Finley, Cook Islands Ambassador and Permanent Representative to IMO, at major IMO meetings.

In terms of reporting requirements, Cook Islands shows full compliance with ILO reporting obligations and demonstrated full and complete effect to the relevant provisions of the STCW Convention. The flag is included in the latest STCW ‘white list’as approved by the IMO Maritime Safety Committee.

Cook Islands also maintains a low average age of fleet and has established the use of recognised organisations, authorised to conduct survey work on their behalf, that comply with Resolution A.739.

MCI CEO Glenn Armstrong said today that the ship registry’s newly-enhanced technical department, through more rigorous flag state inspection regime, look towards bringing down the number of inspections with deficiencies further.

He added that the progress made by MCI for the past year is encouraging and the ship registry is hopeful about getting on the Tokyo MOU White List.



This year marks International Maritime Organisation (IMO)’s 70th year since the agency was first established, aiming to create a universally fair and effective regulatory framework for the shipping industry.

The World Maritime Day theme for 2018 ties in closely with this milestone – “IMO 70: Our Heritage – Better Shipping for a Better Future”. According to the IMO: “This provides the opportunity to take stock and look back, but also to look forward, addressing current and future challenges for maritime transport to maintain a continued and strengthened contribution towards sustainable growth for all.”

And for the Cook Islands, this year’s celebration was a gathering of industry professionals including personnel from the Ministry of Transport and other maritime-related government agencies.

Once again, congratulations to the IMO on 70 years of service from the Cook Islands!



Photo: (L-R) George Maggie, Rose Toki-Brown, Prime Minister Henry Puna and Robert Tapaitau

Few months ago, in July, Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna announced his new cabinet where Hon. Robert Tapaitau,who is also the MP for Penryhn, was given the portfolios of Infrastructure Cook Islands, National Environment Services, Transport, and Outer Islands Special Projects.

His Transport portfolio would include the Maritime section – responsible for the administration of the Maritime Transport Act and associated rules and regulations, as well as ensuring the Cook Islands obligations under international maritime laws and conventions are met.

Hon. Robert Tapaitau will be working closely with MCI who manages the open registrar for ships and yachts on behalf of the Cook Islands.