I’ve been researching my proposal for my second novel. I spend a lot of time reading books and I often uncover lots of interesting facts. One of these books is: ILLICIT: How Smugglers, Traffickers, and Copycats Are Hijacking the Global Economy by Moises Naim (published 2005). I give it three stars because it’s dated. That is actually frightening since it means the statistics have probably gotten worse.
Most US owned commercial vessels are registered under a “flag of convenience,” usually that of Liberia.
During the American Civil War (1861-1865), Confederate commerce raiders such as the CSS Alabama destroyed so many Union merchant ships that many Northern ship owners began to register their ships in the African nation of Liberia. This small country was established in 1821-1822 by freed American slaves under the auspices of the American Colonization Society, a Quaker abolitionist group. Although the experiment of settling freed slaves in Liberia is long forgotten, the American connection with Liberia continues through the registration of American ships with that country. As a “flag of convenience” far more American owned merchant vessels fly the Liberian flag than fly the US flag.