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Flag State Responsibility

Historical Development and Contemporary Issues

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  • © 2009


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All of these flag States have the right to sail ships flying their flag on the high seas (LOSC Article 90) ; and those ships enjo y the freedom of navigation upon the high seas (LOSC Article 87) . W ith this freedom comes a concomitant duty upon the flag State to effectively exercise its jurisdiction and control in administrative , technical , social (LOSC Article 94 (1)) and en vironmental protection (LOSC Article 217) matters over ships flying its flag. 1.2 Flag State Responsibility The absence of any authority over ships sailing the high seas would lead to chaos. One of the essential adjuncts to the principle of freedom of the seas is that a ship must fly the flag of a single State and that it is subject to the jurisdiction of that State. (Brown 1994 , p. 287) This opinion of the International Law Commission in 1956 on a draft article of the High Seas Convention (HSC) was a product of its time; a time of traditional maritime States and responsible long-established shipping companies operating for 3 the most part under the effective maritime administrations of their national flag .

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