A merchant navy or merchant marine is the fleet of merchant vessels that are registered in a country. Seafarers on merchant vessels of various ranks and sometimes members of maritime trade unions, are required by the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers to carry Merchant Mariner's Documents.
King George V bestowed the title of the "Merchant Navy" on the British merchant shipping fleets following their service in the First World War; since then, a number of other nations have since adopted the title. The following is a partial list of the merchant navies or merchant marines of various countries. In many countries the fleet's proper name is simply the capitalized version of the common noun.
The British Merchant Navy comprises the British merchant ships that transport cargo and people during time of peace and war.
For long periods of the last millennium, the Merchant Navy had the largest merchant fleet in the world, but it has slipped down the rankings. Today, there are 429 ships of 1,000 gross tons(GT) or over, making a total of 9,181,284 GT (9,566,275 tons deadweight (DWT)).
These are split into the following types: bulk carrier 18, cargo 55, chemical tanker 48, container 134, liquefied gas 11, passenger 12, passenger/cargo 64, petroleum tanker 40, refrigerated cargo 19, roll on/roll off 25, vehicle carrier 3. There are also 446 ships registered in other countries, and 202 foreign-owned ships registered in the UK. (2005 CIA estimate)
Canada, like several other Commonwealth nations, created its own Merchant Navy in a large-scale effort in World War II. Established in 1939, the Canadian Merchant Navy played a major role in the Battle of the Atlantic bolstering the Allies' merchant fleet due to high losses in the British Merchant Navy.
Eventually thousands of Canadians served in the Merchant Navy aboard hundreds of Canadian merchant ships, notably the "Park Ship", the Canadian equivalent of the American "Liberty Ship". A school at St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia trained Canadian merchant mariners. "Manning Pools", Merchant Navy barracks, were built in Canadian ports.
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and the World Factbook, the Greek maritime fleet is today the largest in the world, with 3,099 vessels of 1000 Tonnes or more (December 13, 2007) accounting for 18% of the world's fleet capacity. About half of the vessels fly the Greek flag and the remainder mainly flags of convenience. Greek vessels consist about half of total EU tonnage and created 7.6% of Greece's GDP in 2007 (about 17 billion euros). Thus Greece is the largest shipping-nation in the world with a total of 141,931,000 metric tons deadweight (DWT). In terms of ship categories, Greece ranks first in both tankers and dry bulk carriers, fourth in the number of containers, and fourth in other ships. In the 1970s Greece was even bigger with circa 5000 ships.
In December 1939, 3000 seafarers were employed 186 merchant vessels were on the New Zealand Registry (many larger New Zealand vessels were however registered in London for insurance purposes). Some foreign vessels were impressed, including the 4 masted barque, Pamir. New Zealand like several other Commonwealth nations created a merchant navy. Although some ships were involved in the Atlantic and North Pacific trade, mostly this involved domestic and South Pacific cargos. New Zealand owned ships involved in trade with the United Kingdom (84% of all New Zealand exports in 1939) and the majority of New Zealand seamen had served with the British Merchant Navy. Over the course of the war, 64 ships were sunk by enemy action on the New Zealand-UK route.
The Pakistan Merchant Navy was formed in 1947. The Ministry of Port and Shipping, Mercantile Marine Department and Shipping Office established by the government of Pakistan were authorized to flag the ship and also ensured that the vessel was sea worthy. All of the private shipping companies merged and formed the National Shipping Corporation (NSC) and the Pakistan Shipping Corporation (PSC) and as a result they had a common flag. Among these companies were the Muhammadi Steamship Company Limited and the East & West Steamship Company.
In an Indo-Pak war of 1971 Pakistan suffered a great loss of its Merchant Vessels at the hands of Indians. On 1 January 1974 President of Pakistan Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto nationalized the National Shipping Corporation and Pakistan Shipping Corporation, and formed Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) with the intent of reestablishing the Pakistan Merchant Navy. Later, the Company was incorporated under the provisions of the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation Ordinance of 1979 and the Companies Ordinance of 1984 respectively.
Today Pakistan National Shipping Corporation is the national flag carrier managing a fleet of 09 vessels. The Corporation's head office is located in Karachi. A regional office based in Lahore caters for upcountry shipping requirements. The Corporation also has an extensive overseas network of agents looking after its world wide shipping business. Pakistan National Shipping Corporation also has several subsidiary companies.
The Polish Merchant Navy (Polish: Polska Marynarka Handlowa, PMH) was created in the interwar period when the Second Polish Republic regained independence. During World War II, many ships of the Polish Navy joined the Allied merchant navy and its convoys, as part of the Polish contribution to World War II.
After the war, the Polish Merchant Navy was controlled by the People's Republic of Poland and after 1989, by modern Poland. As of 1999[update], the PMH controls 57 ships (of 1,000 GT or over) totaling gross tonnage (GT) of 1,120,165/1,799,569 metric tons deadweight (DWT) including 50 bulk carriers, 2 general cargo ships, 2 chemical tankers, 1 roll-on/roll-off ship and 2 short-sea passenger ships.
Swiss Merchant Marine
Switzerland, despite being a landlocked country, has a civilian high seas fleet of merchant vessels, whose home port is Basel, on the Rhine. The first ships were purchased and operated by the government in order to ensure the supply of critical resources during World War II. After the war, a privately owned merchant fleet emerged, spurred in part by government subsidies that paid for the fleet's operation up until 1953. As of 2006, 26 ships (mostly container carriers) totalling 479,624 tons, operated by five shipping companies, fly the Swiss flag.
United States Merchant Marine
The United States Merchant Marine is made up of the nation's civilian-owned merchant ships and the men and women that crew them. The merchant marine transports cargo and passengers during peace time. In time of war, the merchant marine is an auxiliary to the Navy, and can be called upon to deliver troops and supplies for the military.
The people of the merchant marine are called merchant mariners, and are civilian except in times of war, when, in accordance with the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 they are considered military personnel. As of 2009, the United States merchant fleet numbered 422 ships and approximately 69,000 people. Seven hundred ships owned by American interests but registered, or flagged, in other countries are not included in this number.
The International Maritime Organization
The International Maritime Organization (IMO), formerly known as the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO), was established in Geneva in 1948, and came into force ten years later, meeting for the first time in 1959. The IMCO name was changed to IMO in 1982.
Headquartered in London, United Kingdom, the IMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations with 169 Member States and three Associate Members. The IMO's primary purpose is to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping, and its remit today includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping. IMO is governed by an Assembly of members and is financially administered by a Council of members elected from the Assembly. The work of IMO is conducted through five committees and these are supported by technical subcommittees. Member organizations of the UN organizational family may observe the proceedings of the IMO. Observer status is granted to qualified non-governmental organizations.
The IMO is supported by a permanent secretariat of employees who are representative of its members. The secretariat is headed by a Secretary-General.
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2009)|
- Neil Atkinson, Ed, 'Hell or High Water, New Zealand Merchant Seafarers Remember the War' Harper Collins, Auckland, 2009
- "Company Profile". Pakistan National Shipping Corporation. 17-March–2009. Retrieved 2009-08-28.
- Most English-speaking countries call their fleet the Merchant Navy. Terms similar to Merchant Marine are used in, for example, the French Marine Marchande and the Spanish Marina Mercante.
- Ships of 1,000 gross register tons (GRT) tons or over. Fleet statistics from the 2009 CIA World Factbook