| Part of a series on classification and
The flag state of a vessel is the country in which the vessel is registered. The registrant country ensures adherence to flag state regulations through its own administrative body (see below). It is also the country whose laws the vessel is expected to operate under. The role of flag states in the international seafaring community is defined in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, generally under the auspices of the IMO.
Flags of convenience is a term which refers to flag states with relatively liberal laws & regulations (in comparison to other flag states) or particularly lax registration and enforcement procedures. It may also refer to the use of an open registry in a country foreign to the ship owner.
An open registery refers to a country which registers vessels owned in other nations.