Changes in Legislation / Flag States
Flag state or Flag of Convenience ( FOC’s) is a term to describe how shipping companies register their ships. They pay into a Flag state to register the ship in that country. As these are then funded by the shipping company, we now have a conflict of interest, as to when and if, the Flagged state have to send a Police Officer to carry out a investigation. This is also a point with regards to onboard security, as the company pay the wages, and have been known to stand them down from investigation’s.
On a worldwide basis we have 97 large cruise liners, of this 80 are sailing under the termed Flag of Convenience. Most of these are in small islands, with the exception of Panama and Monrovia, these countries rely on the income generated by the shipping companies, when they register their ships with them. These then become under the jurisdiction, laws, and policing of the Flag she is flying.
The Bahamas Flag has 35 cruise liners on their registry and with a full capacity of passengers at 125,674. Panama has 26 cruise line vessels, carrying a capacity of 83,158 passengers. Bermuda has 14 vessels with a capacity of 50,979 passengers. Malta has 5 vessels with a capacity of 15,850 passengers. This comes to a total number of passengers at 275,661. Add the crews to each ship, would be about 900/1200, and then include voyage changes from 7 day to 10 day and 14 day cruise’s the figure now goes into millions. 18 million passengers were reported to have travelled in 2010.
The two largest ships now carry up to 8,000 passengers and crew, these vessels are now small floating cities with no independent police force onboard.