There is nothing inherently unusual in an international ship registry system in which the owner of a ship may be located in a country other than the State whose flag the ship flies. However, a balance has to be struck between the commercial advantages of selecting a particular flag and the need to discourage the use of flags that do not meet their international obligations.
The purpose of this Flag State Performance Table is two-fold:
• To encourage shipowners and operators to examine whether a flag State has sufficient substance before using it.
• To encourage shipowners and operators to put pressure on their flag Administrations to affect any improvements that might be necessary, especially in relation to safety of life at sea, the protection of the marine environment, and the provision of decent working and living conditions for seafarers.
How to use the Table
This Table summarises factual information in the public domain that might be helpful in assessing the performance of flag States. Sources are shown in the footnotes at the end of this report.
Positive performance indicators are shown as green squares on the Table.
Like all datasets, the Table needs to be used with care. Where a flag State is missing a single positive indicator, in itself this does not provide a reliable measurement of performance. For example, a flag State might be unable to ratify a Convention due to conflict with domestic law but might nevertheless implement its main requirements. Equally, a flag State may not be listed on a Port State Control ‘white list’ because it does not make any port calls in that PSC region.
However, if a large number of positive indicators are shown as being absent, this might suggest that performance is unsatisfactory and that shipping companies should ask further questions of the flag State concerned.