[2023] Motion 15 Tackling flags of convenience and growing domestic shipping

carried motion
Carried motion

Received from:

Congress commends the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) on the 75th anniversary of the campaign against Flags of Convenience (FOC) in shipping.

Congress condemns continuing proliferation of FOCs, which drive down wages and on-board conditions, induce fatigue, and stress through excessive hours of work with minimal rest. FOCs also lead to increased ‘social dumping,’ with exploited labour from developing countries undermining jobs, pay and conditions for UK resident maritime professionals as highlighted by P&O Ferries unlawfully sacking 786 seafarers in March 2022.

Therefore, Congress calls on the government to instigate a global review of ship registration practices whilst reinforcing Article 91 of UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea) that requires a genuine link between the shipowner and the country of registration. The review should include defining the requirement for a genuine link with the aim of ensuring states effectively exercise jurisdiction and control of vessels on its register in accordance with Article 94 of UNCLOS.

Congress further notes that 80 per cent of the world’s maritime states have laws protecting local shipping industries, ensuring the retention of skilled
maritime workers and the preservation of maritime knowledge and technology; safeguarding fair competition; promoting safety; and bolstering national security. The UK is in the minority of countries without these set of ‘cabotage’ laws.

Therefore, Congress calls on the government to enact laws with the clear aim of protecting domestic shipping industries and inland waterways, growing the UK flag, and increasing employment and training opportunities for domestic maritime professionals.

Nautilus International


› In point (i), after ‘vessels’ and before ‘on’, insert “and employment standards.”
› Insert new final para,
“Congress believes the government’s voluntary seafarers charter introduced in response
to P&O must be mandatory. Congress will campaign for a stronger mandatory charter, fair pay agreements on ferries and improvements to seafarer employment legislation, including these reforms being introduced in the first year of a Labour government.”
National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers