Cyprus

Panama, Liberia, Cyprus and Malta – all FOC countries – none of those conventions would ever become law, such is the percentage of the world fleet that is flagged out. A number of traditional maritime nations have created second registers as a means of ‘competing’ with FOC countries, e.g. Norway, while in other cases the owners have found a national route that offers similar advantages, e.g. Isle of Man. In such cases the advantage to the owner is related to taxation or crew nationality, wages and social security costs and not to any relaxation of safety standards or crew size. Many shipowners operate from one or more of the traditional or regional centres that maintain an important presence in the international dry-cargo market. Others operate their enterprises from these or from locations in their own country, although (in order to avoid taxes levied against ship-earnings) often under an ‘agency agreement‘ with the ‘off-shore’ owning corporation officially located, perhaps, in a more exotic and ‘convenient’ part of the world. This is a term used to describe an organisation or individual experienced in the market and in its mechanisms, setting out to create income from ‘trading’ in ships and cargoes. Some operators specialise in securing ships on charger from shipowners, thereafter hoping to re-employ the ship(s) to other charterers at a higher freight/hire rate, thereby securing a profit. Other operators concentrate on securing contracts for the carriage of cargoes and, by fixing-in outside ships at lower freight rates, thereby cover their commitment to the original charterers and, at the same time, make themselves a profit. Certain operators trade in both ships and cargoes and, at any one time, have a mix of short, medium and long-term commitments to charterers and/or shipowners, needing great skill and a reasonable level of good fortune to maximise potential returns.