U.S. commercial shipping industry has a lot at stake in ensuring that UNCLOS is ratified
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Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, freedom of the seas and rights of innocent passage are not theoretical concepts. These are critical aspects of the Law of the Sea Convention and ones that we rely on for the effective operation of our industry. We are very concerned with protection of those rights. Both US flag ships and ships owned or operated by American companies are impacted by international events. We rely on our nation to be actively involved. The U.S. should place itself in the most effective position to be a force for adherence to treaty obligations by all. We can do this by acceding to the treaty.
My members operate in the international maritime world. We benefit from a consistent application of the rules that we have to follow. There are certainly fewer ships flying our flag than in years past although that does not mean we are less involved as a nation. The latest figures we have seen place the United States as the sixth largest shipowning nation in the world. In recent months, we have seen actions by companies that will lead to more American seafarers serving on ships that fly the flags of other nations. Clearly we have a lot at stake.