Do Flag States Support the Countries they represent

Do flag states such as Liberia and Marshall Islands, actually support those countries? What do those countries get? I Liberia in the news for running out of money, but yet the registry is the fastest growing? Why do shipowners support these flags?

I doubt they give much if any financial support to those countries. Both of those registries are run by private companies, which have the contract to operate for those countries. At one point Liberia and Marshall Islands was run simultaneously by the same company.

Those registries are both based out of DC and run by Americans. I’m sure they’re lining some Liberian/Marshall Island pockets but if I was a betting man I’d say the country doesn’t get much.

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If that’s the case, then do they even support or care about seafarers, especially during these times? Why wouldn’t the countries just run the registry and use the money for maritime infrastructure?


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If the registries are run by Americans, are they maritime people? If they are responsible for corruption in those countries, how do they get away with it?


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Research the issue of “abandoned seafarers” and you will be enlightened.


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I know a few people who used to work at one of them. As I understand it it, the Americans are quickly becoming outnumbered by foreigners being imported as the Americans leave.

If enough research is done you can run across a few dated news articles giving numbers. With regards to LISCR, in the early 2000’s they contributed around $18 million a year to Liberia. That was a quarter of their national budget. It is probably more now but can’t find any reference to those numbers.

The registries pretty much just deal with paperwork. They allow Class to handle plan review and issuance of most of their certificates on their behalf.

18 million doesn’t seem that much for the size and the industry, but at least its something. But I can’t imagine though how 18 million can really help a country with infrastructure projects on a large scale.

What a nonsensical thread title: “Do Flag States Support the Countries they represent?”.
A ‘Flag State’ and the given country (hence, the State) are identical.

Countries have different constitutions and laws. If they ‘facilitate’ the registry of vessels, it is in their ‘national’ interest.
A ‘national interest’, is given by the applicable laws – or by the absence of legislation in this particular matter; if it could be a form of corruption, or not, has to be seen with their laws.
Who effectively handles the registry, on this state’s behalf, is irrelevant.

There are many ships registered in the serious United Kingdom, where it is not clear, why they are registered there.

What a single state, or even many of them, is considering an abuse, is another question…

I am guessing @ITOIL was referring to the Ship Registries like LICSR (Liberian) or IR (Marshall Island) that are actually corporate entities authorized by those countries.


Correct. So many of them seem to be run privately. Like the ones you mention, throw in Vanuatu as well.

In a word, Flag states could give a flying fuck about the ships. They take the money to register, (As one poster said, very little actually goes to them) How many actually are named in lawsuits and have to pay out for whatever? I think that number is quite low.

Not ALL FOCs are operated by private companies, but many are.
One exception is the oldest and largest open registers, Panama Ship Register:

A lot of private companies offer to help with registration, certification and all legal matters required to get your ship into the Panama Register however.

One of the advantages with the Panama Registry is that Panama has Embassies and/or Consulates in most countries and major ports.

Panama is member of ALL international organizations and also signatory to treaties and agreements that involve shipping, which is important for legal reasons and for clarity of obligations.
PSR is on the White List in all PSC zones and accepted (even popular) with both insurance companies, Finance institution and Charterers worldwide.

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The problem with Panama, is most of their business is done in Spanish, so ship owners need to use legal counsel that can translate, adding other costs to the process.

No problem on the ships as everything you have to deal with is also in English.
But yes, on the administrative side it is a problem. That is why there are numerous companies that offer their services to handle such things.

PS> It is not a big enough problem to where it keeps people from registering their ships under Panama flag.