The article examines several aspects of the shipping expeditions conducted between 1767 and 1769 by the Giorgio, a vessel operating commercially under the English flag but owned by Gian Tommaso Balbi, a Genoese aristocrat. The Giorgio transported primarily grains and cereals from the Aegean Islands (the Archipelago) to Spain. Its operations were motivated by speculative gains at a time of rising grain prices. The investor that funded the shipping expeditions adopted the flag mimicry following a business practice that was common at the time among Genoese merchant ships due to the political and military weakness of the Genoese Republic. However, as soon the investment turned out to be unprofitable, funding of the operations was cut short and the shipping expeditions terminated. The voyages’ documentation presents interesting aspects concerning the embarking and debarking of goods and personnel associated with the navigation routes. It provides data with respect to the dynamic and differentiated seafaring labour market of the time. In particular, the specific case examined provides insights on the oscillating retributions of crew members, both Italian and foreign.
Keywords: Flag of Convenience, Maritime History, Seafaring Labour Market, Grain Trade, Trade Network