Maritime Governance

Governance overview  

Heather McLaughlin - INLECOM

Maritime governance derives from an institutional framework with jurisdictions at international, national, regional and local level. Its global reach dictates the need for an international perspective, but at the same time policies have to be effectively applied at a variety of lower jurisdictions.  

At the international level, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) focuses on safety, the environment and security, and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on issues affecting maritime labour.   Regional policy-making is influenced and affected by the European Union (EU), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).  These regional bodies are often engaged in the interpretation of higher international regulations and refining them for application to their own member states. At times this can create conflict between regional and national interests.

This study focuses on governance issue for the maritime industry.  It begins with a discussion of regulation and the regulators (Sections 2 and 3) before considering the difficulties posed by ownership and registration (Section 4).  Section 5 explores the challenges for governance and policy making and Section 6 analyses port governance. Conclusions are drawn in Section 7.

EU Policy

An aspiration of an EU Integrated Maritime Policy is to change the way in which policy is made and decisions taken to create the necessary interaction between the various sectors and to ensure that common tools are developed. The Commission proposes ‘an Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union, based on the clear recognition that all matters relating to Europe's oceans and seas are interlinked, and that sea-related policies must develop in a joined-up way if we are to reap the desired results’(p.2). To this end, integrated maritime policy guidelines have been issued to Member States which include recommendations for setting up a maritime governance system based on international good practice. These guidelines are based on common elements observed around the world and are aimed at encouraging Member States and other players to take steps towards adopting an integrated approach to sea-related affairs within their governance frameworks.

Greater coherence between different policy areas and approaches is particularly needed:

  to avoid duplication of regulatory powers of different national or regional authorities in the Member States and to create a one-stop-shop approach in each Member State
  for reliable and comparable statistics to inform maritime policy making on all levels
  to facilitate closer coordination on maritime surveillance between, and within, Member States.

Member States have, in turn, made a commitment to make information available on a website which detail the way in which maritime strategies have been developed and the dialogue with stakeholders.
Such coherence would greatly facilitate the development of e-Maritime solutions. Conversely e-Maritime capabilities will facilitate the development of new forms of governance frameworks.