Taming a globalized industry – Forces and counter forces influencing maritime safety

Studio Apertura

​Thispaper analyzes changes in how regulatory authorities and actors within the industry navigate new challenges and new opportunities presented by globalization. Maritime transport has been one of the drivers of ​globalization itself, and ships in international passage have for centuries been operating outside the reach of national regulation. Still there are ongoing developments where further changes associated with globalization affect the safety in transport. For example, near coast shipping is increasingly conducted by ships sailing under flags of convenience. They operate along the coast, pivotal to thenational economy, and represent a local risk, but they still sail largely beyond the reach of national regulators. This paper discusses challenges and dilemmas this represents for the regulators and the industry and how they work to improve safety in this situation.

Based on a discussion of different forms of power three responses are analyzed: 1) The regulators’ efforts to improve safety through international regulations, 2) how segments of the industry operate beyond a minimum compliance and how authorities influence this segmentation 3) how digitalization and international collaboration improve the regulators’ knowledge and power to exercise their authority in a more directed manner. The paper support previous research contending that internationalization reduces the leverage for national regulators to uphold safety. Still, it also highlights some mechanisms and power-resources, seen in governance and practice, that still are not fully realized or formalized in policy.