The leaders of Japan and China got off to a tense start but have made significant progress in turning around their relations in recent years.Asia Politicsread more
Tech's hottest IPOs of the year, including Beyond Meat and Zoom, dropped on Monday, falling more than the broader market.Technologyread more
Stocks in Asia slipped on Tuesday, while investors looked toward a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping set to happen later in the...Asia Marketsread more
A week of dovish fireworks out of the central banking community has just gone by with most of the world's leading central banks now guiding towards easing in light of downside...Commentaryread more
"We do not seek conflict with Iran or any other country," Trump tells reporters in the Oval Office.Politicsread more
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He held a phone conversation with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, China's Ministry of Commerce...World Economyread more
Sen. Bernie Sanders announced a plan Monday to forgive the country's $1.6 trillion outstanding student loan tab, intensifying the higher education policy debate in the 2020...Personal Financeread more
While earnings usually come in substantially ahead of expectations — as much as 4 or 5 percentage points is not unusual — the downward direction in the outlook doesn't speak...Earningsread more
U.S. President Donald Trump's senior adviser Kellyanne Conway will not testify before the House of Representatives Oversight Committee this week on her alleged violations of...Politicsread more
"We missed being the dominant mobile operating system by a very tiny amount. We were distracted during our antitrust trial. We didn't assign the best people to do the work,"...Technologyread more
PatientsLikeMe was bought by UnitedHealth following a review by Trump's Treasury Department, which scrutinized the start-up because it's backed by Chinese cash.Technologyread more
So what is an American ship?
Simple answer: a ship flying the U.S. flag. But such a ship has to use an American crew, follow U.S. safety rules, and be built in a U.S. shipyard. That's very expensive.
So most ship lines go for "flags of convenience." These are the flags from countries that typically have no restrictions on what nationality your crew should be (or how much they should be paid) or where your ship should be built or repaired.
Here's the problem: the U.S. has a lot of government-related cargo moving around the world, like military supplies or disaster relief aid funded by U.S. tax dollars. Many folks, particularly members of Congress representing areas with shipyards and seafarers, believe those cargoes should move on U.S. ships. And so over the decades laws have been enacted to require just that.
But that has led to another problem: The U.S. does not have enough home-grown shipping capacity to handle all its cargo. Indeed, the handful of U.S. shipping companies in existence today only serve domestic routes (think Hawaii and Puerto Rico). There are no U.S. international shipping lines.
So how does the U.S. get its cargo around the world? Some foreign lines are allowed to fly the U.S. flags on portions of their fleet in exchange for a retainer and a guarantee of ship space when needed. And these carriers have to follow some of the U.S. rules, like crewing (think of the U.S. crew on the Danish line-operated ship Maersk Alabama in "Capt. Phillips").
In addition, there are some categories of cargo, typically aid or agricultural cargoes, where only a portion of the cargo has to move on U.S. flagged shipping. The rest can move on, well, ships with flags of convenience.
And here's an extra complication: Ships may be operated by one company, but chartered from another owner; much like the airline industry, where airlines lease out aircraft to meet seasonal traffic needs. Not to mention that many ship lines are publicly traded on overseas exchanges.
So a ship flying a flag of convenience (like the Marshall Islands) could have an operator that does a lot of business with the U.S. government (like Maersk), perhaps U.S. investors behind the scenes, and even U.S. controlled cargo on board…but still not be a U.S. ship.