Specifically, Coast Guard attempts to identify poor-quality vessels; Therefore, all foreign-flagged vessels are examined more than once a year. As a result, the majority of the vessels operate at a higher quality share nearly the same examination intervals, as those vessels operating at lower-quality standards.

These high-quality vessels should be recognized and rewarded for their commitment to safety and quality. Therefore, on January 1, 2001, the Coast Guard implemented an initiative to identify high-quality ships, and provide incentives to encourage quality operations. This initiative is called QUALSHIP 21, quality shipping for the 21st century.

Concerning the eligible criteria, by closely examining Port State Control data from the previous 3 years, the characteristics of a typical 'quality' vessel were identified. A quality vessel is associated with a well-run company, is classed by an organization with a quality track record, is registered with a Flag Administration with a superior Port State Control record, and has an outstanding Port State Control history in U.S. waters. Using these general criteria, approximately 10% of the foreign-flagged vessels that call in the U.S. qualify for this initiative.

Meanwhile, to attract more participants, all Qualship 21 designated vessels will receive a Qualship 21 Certificate, issued by the Office of Vessel Activities (CG-CVC) staff.

The Coast Guard informs that operators may begin to apply for the QS21 program starting on 01 July 2019. Applications should be sent to the US Coast Guard Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance.

Concluding, the Coast Guard published it Qualship21 reports for 2018, informing that the program ended calendar year 2018 with an enrollment of 2,213 vessels, compared to 2,013 last year.