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Modern international shipping is largely a flag state-based system. Only the flag state has complete authority over the vessels that fly its flag, and as a result, other states’ jurisdiction over these vessels is very limited. Against this backdrop, this article examines the flag state’s responsibility for maritime terrorism, a major security issue and vulnerability in the global supply chain. It is not an exaggeration that the global community’s repeated statements regarding the illegality of terrorism have created a customary international law obligation for states to take all possible steps for the prevention of terrorism. This article argues that providing flags to suspicious entities in an obscure registration system is not compatible with this obligation.