Maritime sector (maritime safety) is one of the most widely regulated sectors internationally. The growing intensity of vessel traffic is increasing the number of international instruments binding on flag states, port states and coastal states.
The task of flag states, port states and coastal states is to ensure safe shipping and protection of the marine environment from pollution.
Latvia is a maritime country with a coastline of approximately 500 km, with ten ports along its coast and intensive shipping. To ensure safe shipping and protection of the marine environment and the coastline, it is necessary to effectively implement and further apply the conventions adopted within the framework of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Experts of maritime sector regularly participate in the work of the IMO Assembly, Committees and Subcommittees. Internationally defined requirements apply to ships, ship personnel, cargo, navigation, as well as the safety of persons at sea. International regulations and their proper implementation at the national level are prerequisite to improve maritime safety and security as well as prevention of pollution from ships. Safe and secure ports, safe, secure and environmentally friendly vessels, competent specialists, accurate and timely shipping information are key elements of safe shipping.
The Maritime department of the Ministry of Transport, in accordance with Section 5 of the Maritime Administration and Marine Safety Law, implements a national policy and development strategy of maritime sector based on the IMO guidelines for the implementation of international requirements of the Member States and the requirements of the European Union (EU). To fulfil its functions, the Maritime department collaborates with Maritime Administration of Latvia. Section 6 of the Maritime Administration and Marine Safety Law determines competence of Maritime Administration of Latvia for performing public administration tasks.
The National Armed Forces Naval units that carry out coast guard functions (the Coast Guard), the State Environmental Service, the Transport Accident and Incident Investigation Bureau, the State Security Service, the State Border Guard and port authorities are institutions that perform certain functions in maritime sector in accordance with their competence.
Priorities in the maritime transport sector are defined in the Transport Development Guidelines for 2021-2027. The overall objective of the maritime transport sector is to ensure the conformity with the relevant international requirements and the requirements of the European Union. The following measures are planned in this regard:
- maintain the status of Latvia in the "White List" of Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MOU);
- re-survey main shipping routes; and
- improve the vocational training system of Latvian seafarers.