Merchant marine

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The Deutschland , a ship of the Bahamian merchant navy.

A merchant marine or merchant fleet includes all seagoing vessels that are entered in the shipping register of the respective state and are used for sea ​​shipping for the purpose of transporting goods ( merchant ships ) and people.

Merchant marine ship types are primarily cargo ships of all kinds, ships for passenger transport ( ferries and cruise ships ), but not deep-sea fishing ships . Specifically, only those seagoing ships that are classified and entered in the shipping register belong to the merchant marine . A merchant navy ship flies the flag of the state in which it is registered and is subject to its tax, environmental and labor regulations .

The trade flags of some states to be shown on the ships differ from their national flag . This is not the case for Austria and Germany, in Switzerland there is only a partial difference in the format (2: 3).

The term merchant marine is also used in maritime law , international law , European law and commercial law .

Merchant fleets today

The total of the merchant navy ( world merchant fleet ) in 1999 comprised a gross tonnage (GT) of 543.6 million. Germany accounted for 6.5 million GT (with an average age of three years). The world's largest merchant fleets (as of 2019) have Panama (215.9 million GT) and Liberia (124.1 million GT) due to flagged ships . During the global economic crisis of 2009/10 , many merchant ships were laid up or only sailed at significantly reduced speeds in order to save fuel (" slow steaming "). A shipping crisis began due to an oversupply of cargo space . Too many ships had been ordered or built and came on the market after completion, while at the same time the cargo volume decreased (see also pig cycle ). To date (mid-2013) it has not recovered sustainably. Freight rates (= transport price ) and charter rates ( rental price for a ship) plummeted. The charter shipping companies, which are widespread in Germany, are particularly affected.

The 10 largest merchant fleets (as of 2019)
country Million GT

(As of 2019)

Number of ships

(As of 2016)

Panama 215.9 6,517
Liberia 124.1 3,036
Marshall Islands 90.3 2,681
Hong Kong 85.3 2,271
Singapore 67.6 2,208
Malta 49.6 1,757
Bahamas 48.2 1,132
Greece 41.5 1,044
People's Republic of China 41 2,818
Republic of Cyprus 29.3 829
Number of merchant ships per country

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: merchant fleet  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Merchant Navy  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Size of the ships in the merchant fleets by flag state | Statistics. Retrieved May 2, 2019 .
  2. DMKN "Development of the World Trade Fleet 2016"