Clamping down on Flags of Non-Compliance

WWF is working to put an end to Flags of Non-Compliance.
We are working towards:

  • ensuring that flag states (the country in which a vessel is registered) meet their responsibilities in applying and enforcing international shipping regulations.
  • details of ownership and management of ships being made fully transparent, to enable appropriate follow-up to breaches of regulations.
  • effective liability arrangements being put in place to ensure that the guilty parties are held responsible for the consequences of poor shipping standards and practices.

We are also working on ensuring flag state responsibility in order to stop illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Find out more...

What's the problem?

The shipping industry is currently not very open. For example, it is difficult to find a vessel’s ownership and conduct record, including accidents and breaches of regulations. This means there is inadequate information for assessing risks, and that market forces and bad reputation cannot effectively drive out bad practice.

A particular problem is that ships can be registered in any country, regardless of where their owner is based. This has led to so-called Flags of Non-Compliance, where shipping companies, in order to reduce costs related to environmental and social responsibility, register their ships in countries with the lowest ability to enforce international shipping standards. This totally undermines global efforts to increase shipping safety.

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