An independent study has concluded there is little difference in perceptions of well-being among seafarers employed on open international register ships — sometimes known as flags of convenience (FOCs) — and those working on national-flag ships.

The findings of the seafarer survey, undertaken by Greece’s University of Piraeus, will raise questions over the relevance of a decades-long campaign by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) against FOCs.

The ITF’s campaign is based on the principle that ships should be registered under the national flag of the beneficial owner for the welfare and protection of the crew.