Vessels sailing under the Netherlands Antilles Country Flag are required to have on board this flag as part of flag state requirements that derive from maritime regulations in the International Code of Signals and the International Safety Management (ISM) Code. These codes are published by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as an ongoing effort to reinforce maritime safety procedures and communications to the international maritime community. Fleet management companies and ship owners are responsible to ensure that each vessel in their respective fleets have the appropriate flag signage onboard to be in compliance. This flag is used to identify the flag state a vessel is sailing under and to communicate with other vessels under the provisions of the International Code of Signals.
The Country of Netherlands Antilles has been dissolved as of October 10, 2010. There is no current flag nor designation for this association of islands. The Netherlands Antilles Country Flag was characterized by a white background. It was broken by a red, centrally positioned vertical stripe that stretched from top to bottom. The red stripe was receded behind a blue, centrally positioned horizontal stripe that stretched from the hoist, or left side to the fly, or right side. Centrally located in the crossed section, were depicted six, five pointed stars in a curved formation. The Netherlands Antilles Country Flag was designated to be proportioned at a ratio of 2:3, height to length, respectively. The six stars represented the six islands forming the country. The flag had been officially adopted as the national symbol several times with changes, as the country recently lost several members of the six original islands. Dissolution was immenent. The stars were meant to represent the six islands that originally made up the Netherlands Antilles, including Curacao, Bonaire, Saba, St. Eustatius, Sint Maarten and Aruba.