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Flag of convenience: Stingy shipping firms drive seafarers down to poverty wages

Stingy shipping giants are conniving to cut seafarers’ pay by “flagging out” their ships of shame, a union warned yesterday. 

Conglomerate Reederei NSB plans to ditch its native German tricolour in favour of a “flag of convenience” — and hitch itself to a country with less rigorous employment regulations. 

The company is also said to be in talks with German unions in a bid to drive down wages.

Shipping union RMT warned that European governments were failing to stop sea profiteers from exploiting loopholes in employment rules.

RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash said: “The up-side-down nature of shipowners’ priorities is plain to see from the fact that the largest shipping registry in the EU is Malta — a flag of convenience.

“The EU and national governments have talked tough but done nothing to close the loopholes that allow this dodging of minimum wage rates in the shipping industry.”

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