The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) expanded its list of flag of convenience (FOC) registries during a recent meeting of the Fair Practices Committee in Santiago to include the world's fifth smallest country, the landlocked San Marino.
The San Marino ship register currently has 14 vessels, predominantly commercial vessels, that lack any registered ownership in the country.
ITF inspectorate coordinator, Steve Trowsdale said: 'All too often, ITF inspectors are forced to address the appalling treatment of seafarers onboard FOC vessels, including poor wages, unsanitary conditions and a basic lack of drinking water. FOCs essentially provide a loophole for the exploitation of seafarers.'
At the same meeting, the Committee decided to remove the Cambodia flag from the list of FOC registers as there are currently no commercial vessels registered under the flag.
ITF defines a flag of convenience ship as one flying the flag of a country other than its actual ownership. The ITF believes there should be a 'genuine link' between the real owner of a vessel and the flag the vessel flies as FOC registries make it more difficult for unions, industry stakeholders and the public to hold shipowners to account.
As part of the ITF's flag of convenience campaign, the organisation is committed to addressing issues related to FOCs. The campaign, which has had its 75th anniversary this year, has succeeded in enforcing decent wages and conditions on board almost 11,500 FOC ships.