In these cases there
exists a highly responsible entity who regularly escapes all forms of
sanction and who should normally be in the front line to receive the heaviest
penalties: that entity is the flag state.
It is that flag state that registers the vessel so it has to have resources and sufficient personnel with maritime expertise to impose and control the maritime legislation on its ship. It is this same flag state therefore that should see that the conventions, international rules and standards are respected onboard all vessels registered under its flag in accordance with requirements. It is that flag state that should ensure the seaworthiness of each of these vessels, fit for service for which she is intended, renewing the certificates as well as the navigation certificate and safe manning certificate during the regular inspections and surveys performed by qualified inspectors and competent surveyors with a good level of experience. That's the job of a responsible administration from the point of view of Safety and Protection of the Maritime Environment.
Hopefully a clause insists that it ratify the principal international
conventions as quickly as possible.
Imagine a vessel identified in a doubtful register, in the framework of all the previously mentioned situations, who has a record a long way from being clean, having had an important number of major and minor deficiencies found during port state controls (PSC) leading to days of detention abroad during the last years. In fact a heavy past record which comes to light following a maritime disaster of great importance, shipwreck of the vessel , loss of human lives and large-scale coastal pollution! Is it not possible in this type of case that the Coastal State, victim of this oil spill, as well as the families of the missing sailors could lodge a complaint before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) ?
This court exists with its head office in Hamburg. It's an independent and competent judicial body to deal with disputes arising out of the interpretation an application of the United Nations Convention for the Law Of the Sea ( UNCLOS - Montego Bay 1982). It was established by a United Nations convention and is called "Settling of Disagreements". Inaugurated in 1996 it is composed of 21 members.
This court is for the Law of the Sea, the equivalent of the International Court of Justice of Den Hague (Netherlands).