Corrupt Liberian Government was Nightmare for Commercial Shipping Interests

While the ITF convinced some ship owners from registering with Liberia, the reality is that ship tonnage registrations administered by the Liberian International Ship and Corporate Register (LISCR) actually increased substantially.

The ITF raised the contentious issue of what happened to the monies remitted to the Liberian Registry? In a statement, the ITF offered their concerns, ?The ITF, like anyone, anywhere, who are concerned about the values of human rights and dignity, is overjoyed that Charles Taylor is no longer in power. In the process, however, saving face for those looking the other way as the monies paid the Registry was diverted to fund his vile atrocities.?

G. Gyude Bryant, Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia, held a meeting in Washington D.C. to report that the country?s limited resources would go towards the purposes of which they were intended, and that his country is committed to transparency and accountability.

The ITF responded by saying that it was worried about the ability of Liberia to police its vessels, when it still cannot police itself.

Mr. Bryant said, ?We want to assure all those concerned, including governments and organizations, the United Nations, and those ship owners whose support is so essential, that the funds paid to Liberia through the Maritime and Corporate Registry Program will be properly accounted for through checks and balances, including audits by reputable international accounting firms.?

The ITF does not like open registries, which are flags of convenience (FOCs), but it must accept them. The ITF has institutionalized them through crew agreements and in its direct wage bargaining with FOC owners.

One of the major issues that the ITF has with FOCs has always been that the states that operate open registries do not impose the rule of law on their vessels, as they are bound to do under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).