US Flag Container Ships

All container ships must be registered with a country. That country's flag is what people are referring to when they say "US flag" ship or "foreign flag" ship. Whatever country is listed will be the country responsible to report tonnage and collect taxes from the shipping company. That company must also follow any additional regulations that the country requires in order to register. This may include specifics about crew members and their training as well as communications and safety regulations for that ship. If a ship is registered with a US flag, they are required to hire an American crew and follow the more rigorous regulations procedures when carrying hazardous goods which are more restrictive than international laws. This can cost a lot more money for the shipping line and a lot more effort is needed to carry the US flag. Since expenses can be a determining factor for shipping lines, there has been a sharp decline in US registered ships in recent years. The benefits do not outweigh the cost involved for registering all of their ships. According to the US Department of Transportation, the benefits are that only US flag carriers can "carry cargo from state to state within the U.S." and "Carry U.S. military cargo from the U.S. to U.S. bases overseas". They will also be guaranteed US military support if needed. While this can seem like they are not worth while, the US also provides incentives in the form of subsidies that help differ some of the costs associated with flagging in the US. It is important for the US to have these ships under the US flag because not only do they benefit from the taxes and tonnage, but they have a relationship with the companies moving US cargo throughout the world.