Navigating National Identity: A Critical Look at the Reflagging Process for Polish Ships
Purpose: The main purpose of this article is to present the results of scientific research into shipping company management, in particular the causes and effects of the process of re-flagging Polish-owned ships from the national flag to flags of third countries. The partial objective is to present the author's plan of scientific research leading to the creation and implementation of an optimal model of seafarers’ employment on internationally trading ships flying the Polish flag, owned by Polish maritime transport enterprises. Besides these objectives, there is urgent need to disseminate knowledge on maritime transport and raised awareness of maritime matters in Polish society. Design/Methodology/Approach: The article adopts the following research thesis: The condition for restoring the national flag on Polish ships is, preceded by interdisciplinary scientific research, the creation of an employer/employee optimal model of seafarers’ employment on ships under the Polish flag, ensuring the optimisation of shipowners' operating costs, appropriately high seafarers' salaries and the application of financial aid instruments for the maritime transport sector allowed by the EC. The research methods used in this study include system analysis, induction and deduction, quantitative methods and benchmarking. Findings: The research results positively verified the correctness of the adopted thesis. It is necessary to conduct interdisciplinary research by a team of scientists and industry practitioners aimed to create an optimal employment model required for reflagging Polish ships to fly the national flag. The return of assets that have been transferred under foreign flags and regaining the competitiveness of the national flag on Polish-owned ships should become a strategic objective of the bodies responsible for maritime economy at all decision-making levels of government, as well as local governments, shipping companies, Maritime Authorities, the Polish Register of Shipping, maritime universities and non-governmental organisations. This objective is in line with EU maritime policy and the practice of developed EU countries. Practical Implications: The publication can be used by researchers, students and executive staff in the maritime sector, decision-makers at maritime companies and administrations interested in optimising management systems for shipping companies. The findings can be applied in Poland and other countries in processes aimed at reflagging ships to national flags. Originality/Value: The publication deals with issues that are important, up-to-date and little-known in Poland. There are few items of scientific literature on the subject.the topicality and importance of the issues of flag competitiveness and reflagging, as well as the difficult and complex subject of research. The article presents, taking into account the current conditions, an original strategic research plan conditioning the development and implementation of an optimal model of employment of seafarers in international shipping by Polish maritime transport companies on ships under the Polish flag. The article may fill the existing literature gap in the area under study.