Four black marks for shipping

A NEW study of 104 flag states around the world reveals that open registries or so-called Flags of Convenience (FoC), including Cyprus, perform no worse than their closed registry counterparts.

Details of the study, published in the shipping journal TradeWinds, show that flags classified as FoCs by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), such as Panama and Bermuda, come up cleaner than countries like Australia and the US.
Bermuda was one of six that won a perfect score of zero in the study carried out by the Round Table of Shipping Associations by avoiding all of a set of 18 negative performance indicators that were the basis of the review. The UK and the Isle of Man also won perfect scores.

TradeWinds said that among the top five countries that the ITF considers FOCs, Liberia and the Bahamas had only one black mark each. Cyprus had four, Malta had six, and Panama had seven. Seven is close to the average score for the 104 countries rated.

Most of the closed registries reviewed were awarded one or more black marks. These included Australia (4), Canada (7), Finland (2), France (1), Germany (1), Greece (1), Italy (2), Japan (1), New Zealand (5), Spain (5), Sweden (2) and the US (4).

Albania scored worst with 15 out of 18 negative points closely followed by Bolivia, Honduras and Sao Tome & Principe (14 points). Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Myanmar and Turkey all scored 10.

The Round Table comprises the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the International Shipping Federation (ISF), Bimco, Intertanko and Intercargo. In rating the flag states, the organisation used international blacklists and white lists, non-ratifications of major conventions, the registered fleet’s average age, and other criteria.