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Flag performance has gained importance in the maritime sector especially after the signing of the regional memoranda of understanding. Better flag performance could be obtained through minimizing the detainment rates by eliminating the deficiencies in the ships. Improving flag performance would both prevent shipping companies to lose time and money and enable the relevant flag state to fall off the radar of the regional memorandum of understanding regimes. In this context, this study aims at investigating the performance of ships under Turkish flag exhibited in the inspections under the Tokyo memorandum of understanding, formed by the port states in the Asia-Pacific region, and determining what the deficiencies are, and make suggestions about what measures the Republic of Turkey, as the flag state, could take about this issue. Accordingly, the data obtained from the Tokyo memorandum of understanding database within the 01.01.2016 and 31.12.2018 date range were processed and the Port State Control data pertaining to the Turkish flagged ships were extracted. It was found that, in the three years period, which comprised our sample, Turkish flagged ships were subjected to initial inspection for 115 times and 226 deficiencies were found in these inspections. It was also found that three of the ships were detained five times in total. When the findings of the study were investigated thoroughly, it was found that Turkish flagged ships had more deficiencies in life saving appliances, fire safety and safety of navigation categories. It is suggested that regular inspections, as the flag state, would eliminate these deficiencies, prevent detentions and thus improve flag performance. The improvement in the flag performance would enable Turkish flag to be listed in the whitelist of the memorandum of understanding regimes, preventing Turkish flagged ships from becoming targets for port state control. This, in turn, would prevent the loss of precious time and harbor fees caused by possible delays. To achieve these objectives, the regular and compulsory inspections by the flag state should be made more effective to enter the white lists, not only in the Tokyo memorandum of understanding but also in other memoranda of understanding. In addition, the standard and high-risk ships under the Turkish flag, listed in the memorandum of understanding annual reports, should be monitored closely and initiatives should be taken to eliminate their deficiencies.

Flag performance, Port State Control, Memoranda of Understanding, Asia-Pacific Region, Tokyo Memoran

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