Flag of convenience

From Academic Kids

A flag of convenience is a flag of one country, flown by a ship owned by a citizen of another country. The ship owner can thereby often avoid taxes and make registration easier; the country providing the flag charges money for that service. The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) maintains a list of countries that use their flag for this purpose.

The use of a flag of convenience in order to take advantage of another nation's laxer registration standards is frowned upon for two reasons: The practice causes nations with stricter requirements to lose income and safety/work conditions of shipboard employees may suffer.

Ships at sea fly a national flag called an ensign. Under conventions of international law, the flag flown by a ship determines the source of law to be applied in admiralty cases, regardless of which court has personal jurisdiction over the parties. A '"flag of convenience ship"' is a ship that flies the flag of a country other than the country of ownership.

Cheap registration fees, low taxes, and freedom from labor laws or safety standards are motivating factors for many flags of convenience. Fishing boat owners who use a flag of convenience can also ignore their home countries' conservation agreements. To quote William Langewiesche's The Outlaw Sea:

"No one pretends that a ship comes from the home port painted on its stern, or that it has ever been anywhere near. Panama is the largest maritime nation on earth, followed by bloody Liberia, which hardly exists. No coastline is required either. There are ships that hail from La Paz, in landlocked Bolivia. There are ships that hail from the Mongolian desert. Moreover, the registries themselves are rarely based in the countries whose names they carry: Panama is considered to be an old-fashioned "flag" because its consulates handle the paperwork and collect the registration fees, but "Liberia" is run by a company in Virginia, "Cambodia" by another in South Korea, and the proud and independent "Bahamas" by a group in the City of London."

According to the International Transport Workers Federation (http://www.itf.org.uk/english/flagsconvenience/whatare/index.htm):

"Casualties are higher among FOC vessels. In 2001, 63 per cent of all losses in absolute tonnage terms were accounted for by just 13 FOC registers. The top five registers in terms of numbers of ships lost were all FOCs: Panama, Cyprus, St Vincent, Cambodia and Malta."

Countries declared FOCs by the ITF

As of 2003, the ITF has declared the following countries flag-of-convenience countries. There are other countries apart from these that will also sell the use of their flag.

External links

pl:Tania bandera fr:Pavillon de complaisance

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