Flagging interest: ship registration, owner anonymity, and sub-standard shipping

Michael Galley

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An unregistered ship, not flying the flag of any state, is a stateless entity, with no legal rights on the high seas. An owner may register a vessel in almost any state of his choosing, depending on his objectives and motivation; the choice of options is wide and each register may offer its own legal and commercial benefits. This paper examines the various types of shipping registers, the inducements that many offer, particularly in the way of owner anonymity and lack of regulatory interest, and the way in which this can lead to the prevalence of sub-standard shipping. From the outset however, it needs to be recognised that whilst a number of open registers may be worthy of the tag Flag of Convenience – and even use the term itself - this is by no means true of all open registers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-109
Number of pages23
JournalMountbatten Journal of Legal Studies
Issue number1/2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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