Cabotage Regimes in United States of America and China: Lessons for Nigeria

Coastal navigation or Cabotage is the principle that regulates maritime activities that takes place within the waters of a country and recognizes that a country has the right to restrict the activities of foreign vessels that operate in its waters. Restrictions may be strict in some countries, but may be waived or relaxed in others. This all depends on the purpose that a country intends to achieve in its maritime domain. Therefore every country desires to be in control of shipping within its territory through various legal interventions to ensure the realization of the enormous benefits of the sector. The essence of this article is to assess the major extant law affecting this sector in Nigeria with that of two other jurisdictions of United States and China, which local shipping are doing very well and yielding enormous economic benefits for those countries. However, in Nigeria, the main extant law in this sector appears not to be in tandem with those of the United States and China, which appear to be of international standards. Consequently, it is recommended that the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act i.e. the Cabotage Act of Nigeria should be amended in line with the best global practices.