During a recent meeting of the ITF Fair Practices Committee in Santiago, the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) expanded its list of Flag of Convenience (FOC) registries to include the landlocked country San Marino. The San Marino ship register officially opened its doors to international ship owners on 29 July, 2021, and currently boasts 14 vessels, with eleven designated as commercial vessels. These commercial vessels lack any beneficial or registered ownership in San Marino.
ITF defines a flag of convenience ship as one flying the flag of a country other than its actual ownership. The Fair Practices Committee, composed of ITF seafarers' and dockers' unions, has officially designated San Marino, the world's fifth smallest country, as an FOC register.
Steve Trowsdale, ITF's Inspectorate Coordinator, said: "ITF believes there should be a genuine link between the real owner of a vessel and the flag the vessel flies. All too often, ITF inspectors are forced to address the appalling treatment of seafarers on board FOC vessels, including poor wages, unsanitary conditions, and a basic lack of drinking water. FOCs essentially provide a loophole for the exploitation of seafarers."
At the same meeting, the Fair Practices Committee decided to remove the Cambodia flag from the list of FOC registers. This decision aligns with the fact that, as of 21 September, 2023, no commercial vessels are registered under the flag of Cambodia.
As part of ITF's ongoing Flag of Convenience campaign, these developments reflect the organisation's commitment to addressing issues related to FOCs. It's worth noting that FOCs continue to proliferate, with over 50 percent of the world fleet being registered in FOC registers. The top three contributors—Panama, Liberia, and the Marshall Islands—alone account for over 40 percent of the international fleet. For more information on ITF's Flag of Convenience campaign, additional details can be found here.
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About the ITF: The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is a democratic, affiliate-led federation recognised as the world’s leading transport authority. We fight passionately to improve working lives; connecting trade unions from 150 countries to secure rights, equality and justice for their members. We are the voice for nearly 20 million working women and men in the transport industry across the world.