US Coast Guard efforts to eliminate substandard shipping have focused on improving methods to identify poor-quality vessels (targeting schemes). However, regardless of the score that a vessel receives in the targeting matrix, all foreign-flagged vessels are examined no less than once each year. This provides few incentives for the well run, quality ship. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of vessels are operated responsibly, and are typically found with few or no deficiencies. Under our current policies, vessels operating at a higher-quality share nearly the same examination intervals as those vessels operating at lower-quality standards. These high-quality vessels should be recognized and rewarded for their commitment to safety and quality. On January 1, 2001, the Coast Guard implemented an initiative to identify high-quality ships, and provide incentives to encourage quality operations. This initiative is called QUALSHIP 21, quality shipping for the 21st century.
Less than ten percent of all foreign-flagged ships that operate in the United States meet the eligibility requirements of this program, putting your qualified vessel in an elite class. This is a remarkable accomplishment and the Commander of the USCG applaud the efforts of our organization and the master and crew of the qualified vessel for setting such a high standard of excellence.