SMSA roles and functions

The maritime administration of a state has overall responsibility for the implementation and enforcement of international maritime regulations for all ships granted the right to fly its flag. Ships, like citizens according to the International Maritime Organization‟s standards must have a name and nationality. The flag which a ship flies determines its state of origin.

Moreover, such vessels may reduce turnaround time at other ports, which is lost due to inspections. If they have established a reputation of compliance with regulations, there may be no need for scrutiny. While it is shipping companies that have primary responsibility for the safe operation of their ships and the safety and welfare of their crews, the flag state plays a critical role with regard to the safety of life at sea and the protection of the marine environment.

It is the flag state that has overall responsibility for the implementation and enforcement of international maritime regulations for all ships „flying its flag‟. Effective regulations by governments of the technical and social aspects of shipping is therefore vital to ensure safe, secure and pollution-free ship operations and good employment conditions for seafarers.