Accession Number:



Countering Flags of Convenience to Strengthen Sanctions Enforcement

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Research Paper]

Corporate Author:

Naval War College

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Flags of Convenience FOC undermine the effectiveness of U.N. sanctions with North Korea, in addition to a number of transnational harms. This paper argues for a multi-layered approach to strengthen the at-sea enforcement of U.N. sanctions with North Korea, which would provide a template for future sanctions regimes and measures to limit the harm posed by FOCs in other shared threats. FOCs come from an incentive structure in the law of the sea that provides nations with preeminent authority over registered ships and broad discretion in the registration and oversight process. This places flag States in competition to register ships, which in turn encourages lax enforcement and oversight by some. To counter this, the paper proposes several steps that the United States can take with the international community to strengthen ship registration standards, improve oversight, and ultimately, strengthen compliance with the rule of law.


Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Government and Political Science

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]