Liberian

There are other ports where local problems occur of a political nature. In certain cases it may not be wise to have on board crew members of particular nationalities. Even the nationality of the eventual owners of a vessel may create problems despite the actual flag the vessel flies being acceptable. For example, Liberian flag ships and vessels owned by Liberian corporations are not welcome in Syria. Many Greek-flag ships (that are otherwise welcome) are in fact owned by Liberian corporations, which precludes them from trading with Syria. It is vital that those engaged in international trading keep abreast of the news and especially international news. There is little that one reads about in daily newspapers that will not have at least an indirect effect of international shipping. This is especially so in political and in economic matters. Also try to avoid being inadvertently impolite. If a nation renames a port, for example, it would be good manners to address communications to the new name. Hence “Saigon” is now known as “Ho Chi Minh City”. Polish people prefer “Swinoujscie” to be so-named rather than the Germanic “Swinemunde”. “Hamburg” and “Rostock” are now part of “Germany” not “West Germany” or “East Germany”. Iranian people prefer the Gulf to be called the “Persian Gulf” rather than the “Arabian Gulf”, whilst citizens of Bahrein would prefer the latter. Also contained in the “trading exclusions clause” will be nations entered because of labour rather than political restrictive factors. Prominent among these are Australia and New Zealand (usually collectively termed as “Australasia”) and “Scandinavia”. (Be careful with this latter expression as some people consider that the term “Scandinavia” includes “Finland” and others (especially Finns) do not. The reason for these exclusions is that the nations involved in these two areas (including Finland) are strongholds of the International Transport Workers’ Federation – known as the “ITF”. This is an international organisation set up to assist seamen to maintain wages and conditions at certain levels. The ITF demands that ship owners internationally should comply with these restrictions but, in general, the ITF is concerned mainly with vessels flying so-called “flags of convenience” (e.g. Panamanian or Liberian), as they allege that the conditions of the crews aboard such vessels is frequently below those standards set by the ITF.