MARINE POLICY, vol.143, 2022 (SSCI)
It is the responsibility of flag states to ensure that ships flying their flags are operated according to the international maritime safety standards. There are more than 200 flag states whose fleet characteristics differ from each other. The performances of flag states across all Port State Control (PSC) regimes reflect their level of deficiencies as related to maritime safety standards. In this respect, the measurement of their maritime safety performance is an important issue for identifying the maritime safety level of the world trade fleet. However, there is no standard method to determine flag state performance within the PSC regime due to variations between regimes. In this context, this study aims to assess the maritime safety performance of flag states based on the PSC inspections. The performance of each flag state is determined depending on both its detentions and deficiencies in the PSC regimes. All flag states that are listed in the PSC regimes are grouped according to the performance levels employing clustering analysis. Towards this aim, the performance in each PCS regime is determined using the Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to an Ideal Solution (TOPSIS), and then their overall performance is calculated based on these performances. Accordingly, the performance in each PCS regime of flag states is discussed in terms of maritime safety, thus the maritime safety level of the world trade fleet is identified. The results show that nearly half of the flag states have sub-standard overall performance levels. TOPSIS is proposed as the standard method for measuring flag states performance in the scope of harmonization of PSC regimes.