Rough Waters

Sovereignty and the American Merchant Flag
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Binding:Hardback
Published:January 15, 2017
Rough Waters traces the evolution of the role of the U.S. merchant ship flag, and the U.S. merchant fleet itself. Rodney Carlisle looks at conduct and commerce at sea from the earliest days of the country, when battles at sea were fought over honor and the flag, to the current American-owned merchant fleet sailing under flags of convenience via foreign registries. Carlisle examines the world-wide use, legality, and continued acceptance of this practice, as well as measures to off-set its ill effects.
 
Looking at the interwar period of 1919–1939, Carlisle examines how the practice of foreign registry of American-owned vessels began on a large scale, led by Standard Oil with tankers under the flag of the Free City of Danzig and followed by Panama. The work spells out how the United States helped further the practice of registry in Panama and Liberia after World War II. Rough Waters concludes with a look at how the practice of foreign registry shapes present-day commerce and labor relations.

 

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Product Details
  • Subject: Naval History
  • Hardback : 304 pages
  • Illustrations: 11
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (January 15, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 1682470091
  • ISBN-13: 9781682470091
  • Product Dimensions: 6.12 X 9.25 in
  • Shipping Weight: 28.69 oz
Praise
  • “The author’s insights are as enlightening as they are frequently distressing for those of us who are fond of preserving and encouraging the development of our national merchant marine and who find the use of flags of convenience to avoid regulations that provide for decent pay, concern for the environment, and even the safety of crew members to be a problematic aspect of contemporary life. This book is clearly aimed at those who care about the well-being of people at sea and who have an interest in the history of American maritime commerce, and that is an audience that is likely to appreciate this book to a great degree.” — Naval Historical Foundation
  • “Carlisle traces the evolution of the role of the U.S. merchant ship flag, and the U.S. merchant fleet itself. He looks at conduct and commerce at sea from the earliest days of the country, when battles at sea were fought over honor and the flag, to the current American-owned merchant fleet sailing under flags of convenience via foreign registries. The worldwide use, legality and continued acceptance of this practice is examined, as well as measures to offset its ill effects.” — Sea Technology
  • “…this deeply researched book is of interest to anyone concerned with maritime law and the development of national interest through our naval and merchant fleets.” – Naval Review
  • “For those with an interest in maritime law and for the crews of Her Majesty’s Canadian ships who will no doubt encounter such foreign-flagged vessels at sea, this book will provide very useful context and background. Recommended.” – Starshell
  • "This is a very important contribution to the history of global, not just American, shipping. The author is to be congratulated for enlightening the maritime industry globally on this important subject." - Ausmarine
  • “… Rodney Carlisle’s excellent new book charts this major transformation in global affairs in scholarly detail and will be of interest to maritime and economic historians as well as students of international law.” —The International Journal of Maritime History
  • “After World War II, American merchant ships began sailing under flags of convenience via foreign registries to cut costs of complying with U.S. laws. Well researched yet easy to read, this book covers the evolution and de-evolution of the American merchant marine from colonial times to today.” —The Ensign Review
  • “This book examines the naval and mercantile history of the United States from a different perspective—that of honor, with both ships and the flag they fly embodying the dignity of the nation. To get into the truth of historical developments in the sphere of merchant shipping is a truly arduous task, and Carlisle has succeeded magnificently—this book is worth reading and keeping for that achievement alone. No better or more complete exposition of ‘open registers’ exists, and most readers will be surprised at the individuals, politics and motives—not always money—that have given rise to the phenomenon. Finally, a thought of honor returns, but the entire contents are the reason every serious maritime historian should own this volume.”

    —FRANK L. WISWALL, professor at the IMO International Maritime Law Institute, Vice-President (Honoris Causa) of the Comité Maritime International, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

  • “Who would have guessed that humanitarian efforts to end the slave trade in the Indian Ocean early in the twentieth century would lead to the ‘flagging out’ of the U.S. and many other national merchant fleets to ‘flags of convenience’? This is just one of many engaging contributions in this ground-breaking, wide-ranging history of the American merchant marine. The book says much about the important part played by maritime commerce in American foreign policy, and about the origins of today’s economic ‘globalization.’”

    —ROGER SARTY, professor of history, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • “A flag means many things—honor, power, and sovereign commitment—as Rodney Carlisle points out in this compelling new book. With a wealth of empirical detail covering the growth and decline of American flagged shipping vessels (both military and merchant) Carlisle examines the vast numbers of conflicts that have arisen based on vessel flagging as it has evolved over time. The history of the flagging of the U.S. fleet told here is in some ways the history of the last two centuries, spanning slavery, colonialism, war, and globalization. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in maritime history, the evolution of U.S. influence, or flags of convenience and international law.”

    —ELIZABETH R. DESOMBRE, Camilla Chandler Frost Professor of Environmental Studies, Wellesley College; author of Flagging Standards: Globalization and Environmental, Safety, and Labor Regulations at Sea

Rodney Carlisle earned an AB in history at Harvard College and a PhD in history at the University of California, Berkeley. He taught history at Rutgers University from 1966–2000. He is the author or co-author of more than thirty books on history

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