The USCG's Quality Shipping for the 21st Century program (QUALSHIP 21) recognizes and rewards vessels, as well as their owners and Flag Administrations, for their commitment to safety and quality. The criteria for inclusion are very strict and only a small percentage of all foreign-flagged ships that operate in the U.S. have earned the QUALSHIP 21 designation.

Key figures

  • The QUALSHIP 21 program ended calendar year 2018 with an enrollment of 2,213 vessels.
  • One previously qualified flag administration lost its QUALSHIP 21 eligibility over this past year.
  • Vessels from that flag administration that are currently enrolled in the program will remain enrolled until their QUALSHIP 21 certificates expire.
  • By the end of 2018, 54 ships received the E-Zero designation.


In 2017, USCG introduced a new designation within the existing QUALSHIP 21 program called E-Zero. The E-Zero program focuses on environmental stewardship and worldwide compliance with international environmental conventions. Qualifying ships receive a special E-Zero designation on their QUALSHIP 21 certificate. The E-Zero designation is intended to provide a higher level of recognition within the existing QUALSHIP 21 program.

For the period of July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020, there are 27 eligible Flag Administrations for the QUALSHIP 21 Program:

In 2011, the Coast Guard created a list of Flag Administrations that have shown a commitment to excellence in their level of compliance with international standards, but do not meet the full requirements for QUALSHIP 21 eligibility.

Specifically, they have not met the requirement of at least 10 PSC examinations per calendar year for the previous three years. The list below contains Flag Administrations that have had at least three PSC safety examinations in each of the previous three years and have not been subject to any PSC detention in that same time period: