Ship Registration: Law and Practice
Duties of the flag State
As discussed in Chapter 1, international law looks to individual flag States to ensure compliance with the rules it lays down for the exercise of the freedom of the high seas. The corollary of the principle of the freedom of the seas, as previously mentioned, is that States must take responsibility for the operations of the vessels sailing on the high seas bearing their flag. The practical enforcement of this statement of principle presents considerable difficulties. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 19821 provides that such freedom is exercised by States under the conditions laid down by this Convention and by other rules of international law; in particular, the freedom of the high seas must be exercised by all States “with due regard for the interests of other States”.