flag of convenience

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The national flag of a state flown by a ship that is registered in that state but is owned by a national of another state. A state whose law allows this practice can grant, in return for financial considerations, nationality and the right to fly its national flag to virtually any ship without stipulating any requirements, such as those relating to the safety of the ship and crew, the nationality of the vessel's owner, or the country of construction. Before a state is justified in extending its nationality to a ship, or permitting a ship to fly its flag, it seems that there must be some effective link connecting the ship with the state. Hence a flag of convenience may only be validly granted when a genuine link exists, though what constitutes such a link remains unclear. See also flag state jurisdiction.

Subjects: Law — Maritime History.

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