Tanzania, Togo and Belize have been identified among the world’s worst performing flag states by three separate port inspection regimes.

Tanzania secured the unwanted tag of being labelled “very high risk” on the blacklists of the Paris and Tokyo port inspection authorities and as “high risk” by the US Coast Guard.

The three flag states feature in a short joint submission filed by the port state control regimes to the International Maritime Organization as the regulator looks at ways of harmonising inspection programmes around the world.

The worst performers have been identified based on their high level of detentions following inspections over three years from 2021, according to the submission.

The inspectorates also called for more scrutiny of the recognised organisations that act on behalf of the underperforming registries.

All three registries are also included in the list of 43 flags of convenience compiled by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). They comprise flag states that are marked out by their poor records on environment, safety and workers’ rights.

Ships flying the Tanzania flag have been linked to major pollution incidents and some of the highest rates of crew abandonments, including one of the longest recorded by the ITF.

The federation said the registry had completely failed to uphold its duties after a chief engineer spent nine years on board a Tanzania-flagged livestock carrier without being paid.

TradeWinds highlighted the plight of Syrian national Abdul Nasser Saleh in 2022 when union officials claimed that the flag state had failed to respond to their calls.

Saleh was owed $178,000 in wages while on board the 1,600-dwt Jeddah Palace I (renamed Almaha, built 1979), according to union officials. He finally left the ship in April this year and returned to his family in Egypt after reaching a settlement.

A Tanzanian-flagged tug, the Solo Creed, has been linked to a $23m oil spill in Trinidad & Tobago after towing a barge that leaked fuel across beaches, coral reefs and mangroves in February. The tug was held in Angola last month.

The case was cited by Gaute Sivertsen, director of the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds, who called for increased pressure on failing flags owing to the growing threat to the environment.

The registries of Tanzania, Togo and Belize have been approached for comment. The submission to the IMO included four other flag states that featured on two of the PSC blacklists: Cameroon, the Comoros, Palau and Vanuatu.

Paris, Tokyo and the US Coast Guard represent three of the nine worldwide PSC regimes. The trio has a combined membership of about 50 countries.

The number of ships detained under the Paris MoU hit the highest level for a decade in 2022 — 4% from 17,289 inspections.

Its head warned last month that some flag states had tried to cut deals with port inspectors to stop their ships from being detained.

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