Maritime Executive magazine plays t-ball with this one and still strikes out


SOLAS, STCW, ISM, Class, Load line assignment applies to all vessels regardless of flag. It is the owners who define the standards via their SMS being auditied by a Responsible Organisation.


Are you trying to make some point or just tell us that rain is wet?

Let’s see if I can put it more clearly for you … if second registers did not provide a means to operate with lower standards than the national flag they would not exist. There would be no reason for second registers to exist.


There are several reasons for second registers to exist.

One is a more favorable tax regime

Another is tonnage tax

Another is the owners may do business in the country of the registry and it offers them an advantage in terms of good relations and local crewing

Another is that the company may have a say in policy and decision making by the registry

Another is more favorable tolls - Panama Flag vessels have lesser dues in the canal

Another is financial - some Middle East registries offer discounted fuel for certain cargo types, mainly food.


This is all true but besides the (Steamer’s) point no? Which is not what is the same for all flags/registries but what is not.

What are listed above is not ALL the applicable standards. Here on the forums we have been told these IMO conventions and treaties only represent minimum standards.

But you also mention Class rules and in this day and age these should be up to snuff assuming an owner is using someone in IACS.

But the flag state administration’s rules and regulations would have the most impact on the “standard” of the vessel. If a flag state applies these same design, construction and operational specifications to the vessels in its second registry all well and good. But then the question remains why have a second registry?

The answer must lie in an economic area. Since we are told many countries allow construction of their ships in the open market, shipbuilding costs should be the same for both registries. So it seems (from a general reading only) that most of these second registries differ in the manning requirements.

Further we are told all crew hailing from all countries are on equal footing now, because STCW. Just as good, perform just as well but somehow less cost. Why then have a first registry?

A final thought (off the main point) is that there are two sides to the standards issue. One is the quality of the standard itself and one is the extent of and quality of the enforcement of the standard. My personal observation is that the relationship between owners, flag states, class societies, RO’s, etc seems to have dispersed responsibility and accountability. When the same class surveyor shows up for class survey and flag state inspections but is paid by the owner there is a built in sort of administrative morass and “go along with the flow” attitude that allows sub-standard to become the standard.

But I see @Steamer has addressed this point way more succinctly.


So they exist for purely financial reasons. And why then can not the same benefits be conferred on the first registry owners? Or stay out of the markets you are not welcome to trade in on a straight up national flag vs national flag basis?


As far as I know - and I deal directly with Registries most farm out survey and inspections to IACS members. They are competing for business and must offer similar packages.

The manning requirements are where there is possibly more leverage for the owner / ship manager. Most see a Minimum Manning Certificate as a maximum.

The great and the good in the IMO in London, thought that STCW would raise the lowest to the highest. The reverse happened, and many quality ship owners are taking their own steps to reverse the downward trend.

Most of those with internal training facilities are members of the World Ocean Council

Does it Make Sense for Individual Nations to Have Higher Standards than STCW

Of course it is.

Internationally trading ships can be registered anywhere.

The owner has to find the package that best suits the trade, the ship or his business.

I worked for an multinational conglomerate but sailed under at least 15 flags.


I suggest you’ll re-read my post #88.
Most countries with 2nd Register does not tax shipping companies domiciled in the country, but they do tax the people that work in them that is domiciled there.

To maintain a healthy Shipping industry you have to have people with a maritime background to work both on ships and ashore. To obtain that you have to have ships under your flag where people can get that training and background.

A mix of ships under the National and 2nd registers ensure that there are a fleet under your flag and maritime trained people to work in Shipping related positions ashore, incl. in regulatory bodies, classification societies and a whole host of associated businesses, such as brokerage, finance, insurance etc.

That the 2nd register allow crews hired from other countries at lower wages doesn’t mean that there are no national seafarers on board. There are many vessels under different flags that have a mix of crews from low cost and high cost countries. Especially in the Offshore segment, where specialized skills and experience is required to be able to obtain charters for the vessels in a highly competitive international market.

The technical standard of the ships does not vary by the flag they fly. They are all built and equipped to meet the same international regulations, although some countries have rules and regulations that exceeds the minimum requirements. That doesn’t changes, whether 1st or 2nd Register.

Merchant ships are now mostly built to standard designs by the same yards, classed and inspected by the same classification societies and compete in the same worldwide market. The flag they fly doesn’t change that.

The main difference is the operational standard, where ISM and STCW is trying to level the playing field.
MOU’s PSC is also helping to detect non-conformities and weed out bad Owners/Managers and Flag States. But all this will only work if all serious players in Shipping and all Flag States are doing their bit.

Here is an article from 2015 about why Norway is trying to attract more ships to their NIS register:

Most of what was being suggested then has now been implemented and the NIS fleet is growing again.

Please don’t kid yourself into believing that Norway is compromising on the standard, or that it is all because the Owners are greedy monsters without any social conscience.
In the Offshore segment most of the Owners are former Fishing Skippers, and/or their offspring.
PS> One of the main Norwegian players in both Fisheries, Offshore Oil & Gas, Shipbuilding and now as Owner of OSVs wasn’t even a Skipper, just a Fisherman)


You can write 10,000 more words in support of the fiction that a second register is equal to a national flag but it won’t change the fact that if there was equality of standards and social value there would not be a single reason to have a second register. It is nothing more than a FoC to serve the owners and their political servants.

Bring back the 1850s plantation system and the New Orleans docks would be piled high with cotton bales. FoCs and the euphemistic “second registers” are just seagoing plantations.


We are not talking about the US here. The world is not the same everywhere I.A.


Oh yeah, those of us who have worked in the Bering Sea have heard about the history of their benevolent and socially uplifting corporate and personal attributes.


They must have exported the bad apples then.
Luckily not the whole world is the same as the one you have obviously been experiencing and are unable to accept that there may be another way.


You keep making this point and the Americans on this forum keep refuting it over and over. There is your Norwegian reality and then there is our American reality. Unfortunately the American reality (i.e. the American business model) has permeated the majority of the world and it is a race to the bottom for the worker bees and soaring profits for the captains of industry and oligarchs running it.

I do not doubt that Norway, Finland, and Sweden have socially responsible business practices and good shipowners. I have no problem picturing this maritime utopia you live in. The hard truth is that you are the exception, not the rule.


KIR was the same man in America that he wasn’t Norway before he came, and he is in Norway after he went back. The only difference is that he exported the American corporate greed he learned to Norway on an unheard of large scale.


You sound like you are ready to embrace Socialism:

Scandinavia isn’t an utopia, it is a reality. Anybody is free to copy the Scandinavian way at no costs.
I have lived and worked most of my life in a fairly hard nosed capitalist environment, without the benefits of the Scandinavian welfare state, but that doesn’t mean I have to be opposed to it, or being unable to see the merits.

I don’t want to use names here, but you can google the background of the actual Owners of most of the major Norwegian OSV companies that now control the largest fleet of large modern Offshore vessels and you’ll find that they are what I said; Fishermen at hearth.
That doesn’t mean that they are not tough and demanding bosses, but they KNOW what it is like to be out there on a stormy winter night in small boats.


He is still a fisherman at hearth:

If you are in Oslo anytime soon you may find him down by the piers near Raadhusplassen.

PS> The price may have gone up to match the US$


Not at all. Just attempting (and failing) to put an end to this wholesale beating of a dead horse. I honestly don’t know why I bothered


Pitty, you would have made a good Socialist.
We have to have something to do while waiting for the oil price to recover.


as well as a gigantic asshole


Do you know him, or just assume??
You don’t have much good to say about anybody, do you??
You know the old saying; If you haven’t got anything good to say, just keep quiet.

PS> Here is what he wrote in his Giving Pledge:
It would be nice if there were more “assholes” like this.