Set sail under the French flag

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| The European | 4 January 2017
credit © BOURBON

The French International Register (RIF) was introduced in 2006 and created for the registration of the international fleet of commercial vessels and yachts; it is the most modern, clear and efficient register of the French flag. Benefits of the RIF include quality, service, and reduced cost.

A high degree of compliance with international standards

Commercial vessels flying the RIF are highly ranked year after year at the top of the Paris MoU white list. This confirms the high degree of compliance associated with the French flag certification system with international IMO and ILO standards and offers a great advantage for the safety key performance indicators of the company and the frequency of port state control. For instance, implementation of ILO regulations, especially MLC 2006 certification, are directly managed and checked by the flag, even for international crews.

A quick and easy process

The registration process is managed by a single point of contact and many international law firms are not only familiar with, but know how to manage registration under the RIF for ship owners quickly and easily (SH Legal, WFW, HFW, Norton Rose, Ince & Co.). French diplomatic assistance is also available in more than 160 countries.

No registration fees and no annual charges

There are no fees for ship registration, except for mortgage, and no charges for delivery of statutory certificates, except when there are delivered by classification societies. The advantage of the French tonnage tax system is now well known by international law firms and approved by the EU commission.

An increase of ship registration under the RIF has been observed during the last year (+2.7% in number and +6.6% for GT). A new law came into force on 22 June 2016 that has also enhanced the attractiveness of the RIF for ship owners with two major changes. It is now possible to register a vessel under the RIF if the manager or the bare boat charterer is established in France, even if the ship owner is established in a foreign country. However, in the first case, the manager must be in charge of the international safety management of the ship. Therefore, the ship owner is no longer obliged to register as a permanent establishment in France. The ship owner or employer can also be exempted from employers’ social security contributions for seafarers sailing on-board a RIF vessel and residing in France.

To conclude, choosing the right course for your fleet is now much easier than you may think with the RIF.

Further information
www.rif.mer.developpement-durable.gouv.fr

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