The People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of Liberia have signed an agreement covering a series of maritime trade issues, including an accord which allows owners of Liberian-flag vessels to be charged tonnage dues when visiting any port in the PRC at precisely the same rate as those charged to vessels that are lawfully registered and flagged with the PRC. The same benefits will reciprocally apply to Chinese-flag vessels entering and/or operating in Liberian ports.
The agreement serves to further develop friendly relations between the two governments and strengthen their co-operation in the field of maritime transport on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, freedom of navigation and the principle of non-discrimination.
Under the agreement, the Chinese authorities will take all appropriate measures to avoid unnecessary delay to Liberian-flag vessels, and will simplify and expedite as far as possible the relevant customs procedures and other port formalities relating to such vessels, including those concerning access to existing reception facilities for waste from ships.
The agreement also provides for co-operation between the PRC and Liberia on a range of issues, including the promotion of maritime and port development, full and effective use of the fleets of the two countries to meet foreign trade demands, and safety of vessels, crew and cargo.
Certificates of nationality and other ship’s documents held by vessels registered in Liberia and issued on behalf of the Liberian Maritime Authority will be recognised by PRC authorities, while Liberian vessels holding valid tonnage certificates will not be re-measured in PRC ports. Seamen’s identification and record books issued on behalf of Liberia for members of the crew of Liberianregistered ships will meanwhile be recognised by PRC authorities. Other accommodations in the agreement relate to stop-overs by crew members and their entry, stay, departure or transit.
LISCR CEO Scott Bergeron says, “We are delighted to see that Liberia and the PRC have reached an agreement on this issue. This concord between one of the world’s leading economic powerhouses at the very heart of maritime commerce, and the industry’s most proactive and innovative ship registry, is very good news for all concerned. It is also of positive significance in terms of facilitating the development of Sino-African maritime industry and economic and trade co-operation.”