The Reflag Merry-Go-Round

A reflagged ship has a very difficult time working coastwise.

Yes. Sealand Innovator.

Ships of all types and sizes, flying all kinds of flags are working coastwise all over the world.
The limitation isn’t the ships, or where they are built, but the rules that is applied in some countries, know as “Cabotage Laws”.
IFAIK only ONE country mixes protection of Shipyard and Seafarer’s welfare into “Cabotage Laws”.
To reserve jobs on ships in domestic trade for national seafarers are quite common, however.

This one??:

Yes .Took it over from full American crew and a floating shit heap.

No shit. I don’t need the lesson.

This is a conversation about reflagging US ships. A reflagged US ship cannot participate in coastwise trade. Hence my comment.

Except for the one that was arrested and confiscated or whatever the story is with that one.

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The most important factor wrt the condition of a ship is the standards set by the company / charterer and the level of company support. The older the ship the more support is required.

Presumably when a company plans to sell a ship out of the fleet they reduce the amount of support. Nothing at all to do with the nationalities involved.

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The SeaLand Innovator was 25 years old when reflagged out with the last 5 under USMMI/Maersk where the instructions from the office were “Do the minimum.”

I thought MSP ships could only be 15 years old?

It must only be for tankers and not containers/RORO.

20 years max for MSP… There have been discussions and limited applications by some to go to 25. There has been talk about permanent extensions- but were never codified.

Also, don’t fall for some of the garbage you read here- at least one US operating company for MANY years- has been running reflagged foreign built vessels that were weren’t turned back to foreign flag during their useful operating life- most were reflagged and stayed US Flag for at least 10 years and the company enjoyed extensive financial success.

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Am I wrong in thinking that this is a good thing? :thinking:

It’s a very good thing, wish we had another 20-30 ships in the MSP- giving US owned operating companies a clear cut advantage over the foreign owned, so that way we can start building ships with the profits…

One of the peculiar aspects of MSP is that you are not allowed to build a foreign built vessel to be flagged immediately into the US flag. I believe it has to spend at least one year operating under a different flag before being flagged in. It would be good to do away with this restriction.

This makes me wonder about your experience. Try maintaining a high tempo operation with minimum crew, going through a couple Port State Control inspections or a tough charterers audit with a “rust bucket” and then see what you think.


I think he meant"
What difference does it make whether the “rust bucket” is US-flag and/or US-built?

Yes, foreign Owners DOES take advantage of the generous subsidise offered by the US through the MSP system and they MAY not take their newest and best ships to re-flag

PS> Still waiting for anybody coming up with any provable example of foreign owners flagging ships to US in order to “fix 'em up” cheaply. It kind of doesn’t make sense.

I found ONE that was only US-flagged for 4 years.
She was originally intended to be US-flagged from new, but was delivered as foreign flagged.

Maybe that prove what DemnYankee said:

I agree 100% that it doesn’t make sense. Nobody has made the claim that’s the reason.

All the information I have on this is anecdotal as mentioned in the OP.

This thread is not intended to convince you of anything.

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Near enough:

That’s anecdotal information from the point of view of the engineers. That’s how it seems to them.

I don’t understand the situation which is why I started this thread.

I’ll edit the OP

As edited:

Also… it’s not just the engineers. I had a captain tell me he retired because he was tired of the “reflag merry-go-round”. It sounded like he was just tired of the hassle and the paperwork.

As long as a U.S. built “rust bucket” stays on the Jones Act trade there will far less difficulties from PSC and evidently from charterer’s audits.

The country of build is irrelevant, it’s the condition of the ship, crew size, tempo and trade that matters.

Hapag did it a few years ago. Reflagged in 5 (I think) container ships, and within 2-3 years flagged them out and reflagged in bigger ones.

May have been because of the amount of cargo capacity, but my buddy on one said it was a complete POS and they did a lot of work, only to ship it back out and have to do it all over again on another one.