The benefit for shipowners of building a new vessel under the NL flag

06 July 2020

The Netherlands is home to one of the most prestigious ship registers in the world. Ranked in the top of the Paris MoU White list, the Dutch flag assures you of a warm welcome in ports around the world. What makes the Dutch flag a high-quality flag?

Martijn Nieuwenhuijs, the Chief Executive of Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore in the Netherlands explains. Martijn and his team have ample experience cooperating with the Dutch authorities on vessel classification. They support owners along the shipbuilding process and shipping operations. Bureau Veritas is one of the leading classification societies covering a large part of the Dutch registered fleet.

What is Bureau Veritas position in the Netherlands and what is your experience with serving shipowners with respect to Dutch registration requirements?

"For long Bureau Veritas has a strong connection with the Netherlands. We were founded with a grant of King William 1 in Antwerp in 1828, which was at the time part of the Netherlands. After China our Dutch organisation is the second largest within the company. We have the biggest local plan approval office, a Marine Operational Center for North Europe dealing with 3,000 ships and recently opened a Remote Survey Center.

The success of shipyards and shipowners is highly dependent on good local infrastructure available to support them to innovate and adjust quickly to ever changing market conditions. In the Netherlands we still have a fully developed maritime cluster in which both class and flag play an active role."

The Dutch register comprises of many vessels active in the European short-sea market but also in smaller specialised markets such as the (renewable) offshore and dredging market. What is the benefit for a shipowner of building a new vessel under the Dutch flag, whether at a shipyard in the Netherlands or abroad?

"Shipowners using the Dutch flag for their new construction projects will, from a technical perspective, benefit from having the opportunity to fine tune their designs in discussion with the flag. 

For newbuilding projects for dredgers, open top container and cargo ships, heavy lift semi submersibles and many others there is a clear benefit to build under the Dutch flag for example. Because the register in cooperation with class has the regulatory and technical knowledge to support the construction of more specialised designs. They do provide the flexibility and are open to discuss the complications and solutions associated with innovative and sustainable ship design under very specific regulation. Which is in the end to benefit the shipowner.

Some of these projects could not have been done without a Flag State open for and capable to participate in such innovations."

The Dutch fleet has a favourable ranking in the Paris MoU white list. What does this exactly mean and what can we conclude from the owners behind these vessels?

"The Netherlands has been for long a seafaring nation. Owners take pride in their role and realise that investing in quality pays off on the long run. A favourable ranking means less Port state Inspections disturbing the trading pattern for example."