25 SEPT 2018

Seafarers’ Rights International (SRI) has published a new report that explores the nature and extent of cabotage laws around the world.

The report, Cabotage Laws of the World, has identified 91 member states of the United Nations that have cabotage laws restricting foreign activity in their domestic coastal trades. 

The report describes the history of maritime cabotage and traces a number of early rudimentary legal principles. It sets out examples of the many different definitions of cabotage that exist today at the national, regional and international levels as well as examples of the restrictions of foreign activity and their waivers in domestic coastal trades.

SRI was commissioned by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) to undertake the independent study. The ITF and its affiliates have been campaigning globally to underline the importance of national cabotage laws and the value of having domestic jobs in national waters, as well as domestic employment conditions for foreign seafarers in cases where national seafarers are not available. According to the report, cabotage laws are commonplace and geared towards protecting local shipping industries, ensuring the retention of skilled maritime workers and preservation of maritime knowledge and technology, promoting safety and bolstering national security.

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