Today, nearly 50% of the world's shipping sails under a flag of convenience. While some flags of convenience, or open registries, do a better job than national flags in enforcing international standards on the ships they flag, it is clear that others are less concerned with the requirement of Article 91 of the Law of the Sea Convention that there be a "genuine link" between the state and the ship…
Generally speaking, governments possess neither the inspection expertise required to uphold international standards nor the worldwide network of surveyors needed to ensure compliance. Contracting for the assistance of private actors indicates an effort to comply with international standards. But it might be asked whether some of the states attempting to pursue a survey and compliance regime on their own have an adequate infrastructure to fulfill their treaty obligations. The IMO presses on and multilateral efforts to improve the overall performance of flag states will undoubtedly bear some fruit. Nevertheless, it appears that effective global governance of shipping safety in the foreseeable future will rely heavily on the actions of responsible port states, working unilaterally and in groups, and on the industry's reactions to port state control efforts. (IMO, 295)
The right of the port state to take action against a vessel when it violates port state regulations established in accordance with internationally agreed-upon standards is well established in international law. ...
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