Sun to set on flags of convenience?

Carelessly crewed flag of convenience ships, which are the recurring nightmare of all yachtsmen who cross shipping lanes, could be consigned to history following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre.

David Cockroft, head of the International Transport Workers’ Federation said: ‘September 11 has focused minds on the lack of transparency in shipping and on the ease with which organised crime, terrorists, people trying to make a fast buck, can use the system to hide their identities. For the first time there is a real prospect of destroying the flag of convenience system.’

Shipowners save 2,000 US dollars a day by flying flags of convenience for ships registered in countries which do not implement International Maritime Organisation regulations. Moves are also afoot to blacklist such flags from certain ports.