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.
Would agree if you said “…competing for business and therefore offer ever lowering enforcement standards and consequences assuring owners of the least hassle for compliance until there is a problem and then they run like hell.”
The myth of the minimum manning levels is worthy of its own thread. The difference in manning required between operating a ship between point A and B and actually maintaining a ship in a seaworthy condition is well known to us but not to regulators or even ship owners apparently.
We seem to agree on the net effect of this regime, despite its heartfelt good intentions. But I don’t see you advocating for imposing a worldwide requirement to allow seamen of any nationality to serve on all ships of any and all flag states. Not sure relying on ship owners to reverse the trend is going to work well or for long.
Look I’m sensing the discussion is diverging from the original intent or any of the half dozen sub-topics brought up. You seem to be fixed on explaining “the way it is” or “how it works now” when I’m trying to see how patently artificial means such as second registries, the whole FOC concept in general and concealed ownership helps anybody other than the owners. I find @Steamer 's proposition up there at #130 to be extremely valid and pointing to the real issue - greed and advantage not safety, not industry nurturing, not better performance.
This is not a US vs other nation thing. It’s also not an all or nothing thing. However, it appears that since less than patriotic US owners way back in the early 1900’s decided to flag out (Panama) rather than comply with minimum seamen working conditions and safety legislation (you know like having lifeboats) the balance between greed and industry stability/health in any given country has tipped way over to the owner/greed side.
If a ship owner does not feel a part of a nation and does not feel he owes something to that nation or home but instead views his highest (not only) duties to his stockholders and his own pockets, while taking all dubious if not illegal advantage of the system as one of their rights - well, I don’t view that as healthy. Not for the maritime industry and not for society writ large.
What would happen if ownership was more transparent? Would there be something wrong in having a hard link between the beneficial owners and some actual citizenship in a nation where they enjoy numerous and extensive benefits of a financial and legal system but avoid paying their fair share of taxes or heaven forbid provide opportunity to their fellow citizens?
Come to think of it what would happen if port states, flag states and classification societies actually had the resources to enforce the laws. Like detaining ships that not being properly maintained or even with crews not competent despite holding a piece of paper of dubious quality itself. The farming out of just about all flag state responsibilities to class surveyors is a major step backwards for safe ship operation in my opinion.
I have no problem understanding “the way it is” and even have an idea of how we got here. I am under no illusions as to the future prospect for meaningful change either but that doesn’t mean I am capable of lobotomizing myself and believing it is for the best.
You seem to view the Jones Act as the impediment to further development when it might more closely resemble a life support machine on a very sick patient. Why is it so threatening to people that US citizens want to work at sea and bring a good deal of skill and knowledge to the job and want to have pay and benefits that lets them live in the country they were born in?
Again under no illusions where this is heading, dark forces are gathering. With the shift in direction of the thread and the fact that there seems to be something else deeper motivating Jones Act critics I’m going to be happy to let you have the last word.
Everything goes in cycles - STCW opened a can of worms and enabled exactly that. I have had to sack some Filipinos after a day - the paperwork was in order but could barely speak English yet alone hold a watch. That is a cost to the owner - recruiting and travel, and the cost of a replacement. As said the responsible owners are taking this on.
The MoUs have databases and score vessels for risk, that focuses inspections and vessels are then given a clean ticket for six months, but that only applies to that MoU. On a circumnavigation I had a PSC in every port as they were each in a separate MoU, so it does work.
The Australians have a good regime: In the UK the Pilots have the MCA inspectors on speed dial - if they see a major defect they are waiting on the berth.
The tools are already out there, just not evenly used.
Have a look at Equasis, Ocimf and Rightship - the responsible end of shipping realise that to be sustainable (The new ‘in word’) they have to build long term relationships with charters, shippers. This is stemming the race to the bottom and creating, perhaps, a two tier market in world shipping.
It was much worse before STCW came into being. When I took a scrap ship from Singapore to Kaohsiung in 1974 I found that the Pinoy C/M got his license printed in Saigon. The two other Mates were Indonesians and had bought theirs cheaply.
Today there are electronic means of checking the validity of licences and the quality of Maritime Education facilities around the world. If you don’t have the time or means to do so yourself there are others that can do it for you. Here is one such: https://www.check-it.no/
PS> OCIMF has a wetting system for Tankers (SIRE) but also an inspection standard for Offshore Vessels and Rigs: https://www.ocimf-ovid.org/
Why is it that every article ever written about the shortages in the Maritime Industry never finish the article. They should say there is a shortage in the Maritime Industry of that guys who will work for cheap low budget wages. The highest paid ships in the Maritime Industry never have a shortage of mariners.
Most Japanese owners flag their vessels either Panama or Liberia. Mostly for tax breaks. The ship’s are run to good standards.
A lot of third world shipowners prefer Flags of Convenience in order to avoid the very combative labour unions in their own countries.
Of course FOC allow the shipowners plenty leeway too. They are convenient for the purpose of avoiding creditors.
Yes, of course, why should a citizen be expected to support the nation whose flag he waves so patriotically when it is convenient?
Yes, of course, they do. Why continue to fight with their own citizens about paying “living wages” and providing the same working conditions and benefits they demand for their own families?
Yes, of course. How many times do I have to write that rain is wet and if FoC flags did not provide shelter for con men, thieves, liars, scammers, frauds, criminals, and the kings of greed, they simply would not exist. They serve no other purpose other than to evade economic, social, and legal responsibility.
I am really new to this discussion but I like the cut of your jib.
Liberia as a flag state was set up by the US and there are tax advantages for German owners using the Liberian flag. I doubt whether any owner of any Liberian vessel has ever set foot in Monrovia.
If the regulations in Liberia prove too onerous (many ships registered in Liberia trade to the US) you can register in Belize which is largely a creation of ABS.
When I last worked on a vessel with a Belize registration the flag state regulations would have been a struggle to find in my top pocket.
Not much point in doing that anyway … 80 Broad Street does not exist and the local office of the Liberian registry has less to do with ships than a Pizza Hut in Denver.
This is hardly news, everyone in the shipping world has known this forever but since it appears there is a new generation of gullible youngies posting to the site, here is a basic overview of the Liberian register:
FoC shipping is a fraud. It is the maritime equivalent of congress. They are fake and corrupt facades maintained for the benefit off a few very wealthy people who can buy themselves a firewall against the laws and standards that control the rest of us.
I have seen certificates of incorporation and other official documents supposedly signed at 80 Broad Street. Goddam, I think I will go and think about this as farm boy in the bottom paddock. Retirement is wonderful.