The UK will tighten up its laws to ensure that operators of UK-flagged ships face jail if they try to disguise the ownership or history of their vessels.

The government has launched an eight-week consultation on updating its laws to ensure they are in line with international agreements aimed at preventing deceptive practices.

It said the fraudulent registration of ships, the proliferation of fraudulent registries and other practices “pose a serious threat to the safety and security of international shipping”.