FROM THE CEO: SHAPING THE FUTURE OF MARITIME COOK ISLANDS
This is our first Newsletter since the COVID-19 pandemic began and in that time Maritime Cook Islands (MCI) has done surprisingly well due to the Cook Islands registry being online. The database system is accessible from anywhere in the world which has enabled staff to continue to provide excellent service to clients and agents in a timely manner. Our Cook Islands approved surveyors have had to adapt to the new conditions with border closures but were able to conduct remote surveys when required.
MCI has taken the next step in the evolution of our online registry moving to the Upvise system that allows the administration to issue electronic certificates. Our ability to work remotely saw an increase in our fleet during the pandemic and we now have 683 active vessels on the registry with a full pipe line of enquiries.
Cook Islands has been promoted to the Paris MoU Grey list after years of diligent effort of the whole MCI team which involved raising the criteria for accepting vessels onto the flag and a comprehensive flag state inspection regime with an aggressive follow up on all deficiencies from flag state and port state inspections. Cook Islands has maintained its position in the middle of the grey list in the Tokyo MoU and will continue to work towards the White list.
Against our expectations, the yacht market has been strong, in particular for yachts over 24 meters driven by the owners’ need for privacy, safety and security. Due to COVID restrictions we have been unable to conduct normal marketing activities. However, we have been able to focus on the Australian & New Zealand markets due to the Cook Islands and New Zealand having a quarantine free travel bubble. MCI attended both the 36th America’s Cup and The Superyacht Gathering in Auckland, New Zealand. A Mix and Mingle was hosted by MCI for existing clients. Our renewed focus on Asia Pacific is paying off as we have 6 Super yachts in the pipeline.
Maritime Cook Islands has continued to extend its network despite the pandemic. We welcome our new Deputy Registrars:
Hamada Halouma – Dubai, United Arab Emirates;
Le Duc Anh- Vung Tau, Vietnam;
Peter Redford- Sydney, Australia;
James Humphreys – Gold Coast, Australia (Cook Islands Agent)
The Cook Islands has done its best to ease the lot of seafarers who have been stranded at sea because of border closures around the world and will continue to work with ship managers and owners to ensure crew are being looked after.
We recognise that the pandemic is not over and we will continue to strive to provide excellent service to our clients and agents around the world. I look forward to engaging with them face to face in the not-too-distant future.
CEO – Maritime Cook Islands
PARIS MOU REPORT: COOK ISLANDS MAKES THE GREY LIST!
On the 15th of June 2021, the Paris MoU Performance list was released. The annual performance list which covers the Port State Control (PSC) inspection results in the MoU Region for the period 2018-2020. The performance list is reflected also in the annual report that the Paris MoU has submitted to the IMO III subcommittee that will meet next July.
Maritime Cook Islands CEO Angelos Chatzigeoriou said, “We are pleased to announce the Cook Islands has graduated to the grey list after a sustained effort by the MCI team, over many years, which included removing sub-standard ships, closely monitoring those that stayed on the register through an ongoing Flag State Inspections specific programme and following up on deficiencies found during any and all inspections whether by ourselves or others”. He goes on to say, “Maritime Cook Islands is committed to keep working on enhancing the safety standards and the inspection performance of its registered tonnage with the final aim to move up to the white list in the years to come”.
MARITIME COOK ISLANDS GOES DIGITAL!
The Administration has developed a new database system (Upvise) that has been customised to meet all our vessel registration and crew certification requirements. The new system enables the Adminstration to provide our clients with electronic Certificates in accordance with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) guidelines as per FAL.5/Circ.39/Rev.2
The new system is efficient and effective and not only enables the Administration to meet its obligations and responsibilities, MCI Deputy Registrars and Surveyors are now able to access real time vessel and client information as well as access to the latest versions of our survey & Certification templates.
Special features of the database enables the Administration to be able to generate electronically signed Certificates with Quick Response (QR) Codes for instant verification as to the validity of a Certificate.
The new system will eliminate slow and costly courier charges which often results in delays with delivering Certificates to the vessel and causes considerable cost to Owners and Management companies. Following the new system roll out, MCI has also recently introduced an online application form on the Maritime Cook Islands website at www.maritimecookislands.com (Our Services > Online Application Form), where clients can now apply online and upload supporting documents.
Cook Islands Approved surveyors are able to complete surveys using a mobile app installed on their mobile phone or tablets. The app will allow surveyors to take photographs which will be automatically included into the survey report, to show compliance of the vessel.
Applications for Cook Islands Endorsement are to be submitted online via the Maritime Cook Islands website. Letters of Acknowledgement and Cook Islands Endorsement Certificates are issued electronically and verifiable using QR Code technology. The e-certificates can be printed and presented to PSC when required.
Glenn Armstrong MCI Director of special projects said “We are excited about creating a state of the art, online platform for the Cook Islands Ships Registry that will provide secure access to our systems and data from anywhere in the world. The new digital system will enable us to provide a world class, speedy service while also remaining in control of the system and being able to audit for compliance”.
DAY OF THE SEAFARER: FAIR FUTURE FOR SEAFARERS
Maritime Cook Islands was pleased to host an International Maritime Organization event: Day of the Seafarer in the Cook Islands on Friday 25th June 2021. Panelists were from the Cook Islands Government Ministries and stakeholders which made for great discussion on seafarer welfare.
The Prime Minister Honourable Mark Brown attended and participated in the talks engaging with panelists and the audience on issues around seafarers and shipping in the Cook Islands.
Issues discussed included seafarer welfare, crew repatriation, crew changes, crew abandonment, domestic shipping, Maritime Labour Convention and International Labour Organisation, STCW-F, observers onboard fishing vessels, the cruise ship industry in the Cook Islands and what shipping will look like when sea borders open in 2022.
Eleanor Roi the STCW Manager from Maritime Cook Islands said, “The discussions had were excellent! The panel included speakers from the various stakeholders of the Shipping Industry who openly shared their experiences and challenges faced by their respective organizations through the COVID 19 pandemic. I hope these discussions become the foundation of initiatives that drive positive changes in the industry”.
Maritime Cook Islands will continue to work with the Cook Islands Government and stakeholders to ensure our vessels keep moving and that our seafarers are looked after.
MARITIME COOK ISLANDS ATTENDS THE 36th AMERICA’S CUP
Maritime Cook Islands was able to attend the 36th America’s Cup in Auckland ,New Zealand in March 2021. Team New Zealand managed to secure the America’s Cup for the fourth time in history winning 7-3 against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli who put up a good fight.
The MCI Marketing Manager Katrina Matheson said,” It was great to see so many Cook Islands flagged Superyachts at the Viaduct during the America’s Cup and what an experience it was to be out on the Waitemata Harbour to see the race between Luna Rossa and Team New Zealand. It really was spectacular to see them fly on water.”
WE HEARD THE CALL: HELPING COOK ISLANDS VESSELS IN NEED DURING COVID-19
On the 12th of July the Cook Islands flagged vessel Hai Soon 61 contacted Maritime Cook Islands to seek assistance. The vessel is a tanker that is in the business of supplying fuel to the fishing fleets operating in the South Pacific. They had been denied service in Honolulu due to COVID-19 and were running low on food and water.
The Cook Islands maritime borders are closed until 2022 but thanks to the efforts of Maritime Cook Islands coordinating with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Transport an exemption was granted under Section 6 of the COVID-19 (Maritime Border) Regulation.
Brendan Smith Technical Manager from Maritime Cook Islands coordinated the provisions to be placed on pallets and transferred at sea and lifted onboard by crane. There was no physical contact with any of the crew onboard and once provisions were onboard, they carried on to the high seas. Glenn Armstrong, Director of Maritime Cook Islands said, “This is just another example of the lengths that the team at Maritime Cook Islands will go to help our flagged vessels and the seafarers onboard.”
THE SUPERYACHT GATHERING – NEW ZEALAND
The Superyacht Gathering was hosted from the in Auckland, New Zealand from 24th-26th March, just after the closing of the 36th America’s Cup.
The Welcome event was hosted at the Blue Water Black Magic Gallery at the New Zealand Maritime Museum. Day 2 the Talks, had a great line up of speakers from the industry – Andrew Winch-Yacht Designer, Mark De Jong Marketing Manager of the Water Management Revolution Foundation, Shaun Niven – Naval Architect, Charlotte Devereux Yacht owner, Phil Somerville an actor and philanthropist from eat less plastic and Hadleigh Ford, CEO of Swipe on.
The final day was with the Rondal Breakfast at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron with the Commodore Aaron Young presenting on Team New Zealand successful win for the America’s Cup followed by Sally Patterson who spoke about the Superyacht Gatherings charity partner Live Ocean. The participants were then whisked off to Waiheke Island Mudbrick Estate for the Long Lunch.
Maritime Cook Islands was presented with the All the Oceans book memoirs by Ron Holland for being the only international company able to attend the Superyacht Gathering.
MARITIME COOK ISLANDS HOSTS MIX AND MINGLE AT THE VIADUCT IN AUCKLAND
Maritime Cook Islands hosted a Mix and Mingle event at the Viaduct harbour in Auckland for their New Zealand clients and stakeholders . It was a great evening for the Maritime Cook Islands team to meet with our clients face to face.
Glenn Armstrong Maritime Cook Islands Director said, “It was great to have the opportunity to catch up with a number of our New Zealand based clients, many of whom we met for the first time. Australia and New Zealand have become an important market for us during COVID as they are the only places we can get to meet prospective clients. Both countries have done remarkably well in managing the pandemic and both economies have rebounded strongly and demand for yachts and Superyachts has surprised everyone including us.”