Nationality of ships
1. Every State shall fix the conditions for the grant of its nationality to ships, for the registration of ships in its territory, and for the right to fly its flag. Ships have the nationality of the State whose flag they are entitled to fly....
Thus, in the ideal situation, up to three elements may be involved in a determination of or as ingredients of the nationality of a vessel - (1) the actual grant of nationality by the flag State, (2) the registration of the vessel and (3) the flying of the flag State’s flag as of right. In the composite notion of nationality, these elements roughly consist of, or are comparable to, firstly, a mental element; secondly, a material element; and thirdly, a symbolic element. All of these elements appear to be generally present in the legislation and practice on ship nationality of most States. However, the element that is almost universally provided for in any credible legislative scheme and in practice is the material ingredient of registration following a relatively formal and detailed application therefor.