SRI delivers ground-breaking survey

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Seafarers’ Rights International (SRI), a world-leading international centre researching maritime and seafarers’ law, has today 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 for the first time 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.

Evidence based decision making is highly dependent on accurate facts and the lack of an up-to-date comprehensive study has been a major impediment to thoughtful policy-making on the subject.

SRI was commissioned by the International Transport Workers’ Federation to undertake the independent study.

Deirdre Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of SRI, explained: “For many people maritime cabotage, or coasting, coastwise or coastal trade as it is sometimes referred to, is understood, if at all, only vaguely.  This is not surprising since so little is published on the subject.  This was a complex project, given language and cultural barriers and difficulties in statutory interpretations.  But the subject is important.  It affects a very wide range of trades, services and activities around the world, and with significant social and economic consequences.  Policy makers especially need to know more about the subject”.

Cabotage Laws of the World is based on legislation and advice received from professional law firms in 140 member states of the United Nations, many of whom are part of SRI’s independent network of lawyers worldwide. Written by lawyers, but not for lawyers, technical jargon and heavy authoritative footnotes have been kept to a minimum.

A copy of the Report is available at https://seafarersrights.org/seafarers-subjects/cabotage

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