Key information

  • Flag:Cambodia Flag
  • Population:15,000,000 (approx.)
  • Coastline:Over 400km
  • Maritime Authority:Merchant Marine Department (MMD)


The majority of the Kingdom of Cambodia’s population live along the country’s main waterway – the Mekong River. The river is a key source of food, with a proportion of caught fish being exported. The Mekong River is relied upon for transporting people and goods as well as to supplement other forms of transport such as roads. Tourism and international trade, important contributors to Cambodia’s economy, also rely on the river. These include employment opportunities in the maritime sector, such as seafaring and port and terminal operations.

More recently, oil deposits were found in Cambodia’s territorial waters and, if developed, these could provide another source of revenue.

Ports Of Cambodia

There are two main ports in Cambodia, the Autonomous Port of Sihanoukville and the Phnom Penh Autonomous Port along the Mekong River. These are also ferry terminals and jetties which service the small boats and ferries on the river.

Flag / Port State Responsibilities

The exercise of its flag / port state responsibilities by the Merchant Marine Department (MMD) has, to-date, been limited.

The Office of Ship Inspection (OSI), which is under the MMD, has the responsibility of inspecting foreign flagged ships when they dock at Cambodian ports. The MMD considers developing a port state unit and training port state control officers as the pre-conditions to membership with the Tokyo MOU.

Merchant Fleet

In August 2016, Cambodia halted ship registration for ships engaged in international voyages due to the lack of a proper mechanism, including national legislation, to manage ships flying the Cambodian Flag. Therefore, Cambodia’s international trade is mostly carried by foreign-flagged ships.

Currently, in addition to the small boats that traverse along the Mekong River, Cambodia has 437 Cargo ships, 5 tanks and 7 fishing vessels with a total of 1,108,298 gross tonnage which are engaged in international voyages.

Laws & Regulations

The legal framework for implementing IMO conventions dealing with marine environment protection has been incorporated in Cambodia’s Draft Maritime Law, which is currently awaiting promulgation. The Draft Maritime Law will also, when adopted, give full effect to all IMO Instruments to which Cambodia is a party.

Concerns of illegal fishing and over-fishing are prevalent in the country, due to a recent decline in fishing stocks, while there is also a growing concern about the destruction of mangrove swamps, which affects the natural ecological balance of the environment.

A National Environmental Action Plan has been developed by the Ministry of Environment to protect the marine environment from land-sourced pollutants and the MMD is in the process of developing the corresponding policies. Cambodia has therefore expressed the desire to develop a national maritime transport policy. To find out more about the IMO and National Maritime Transport Policy, click here.

International / Regional / Sub-Regional Memberships / Co-operations

  • International Maritime Organization (IMO) – Member
  • Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) – Member
  • ASEAN Maritime Transport Working Group (MTWG) – Member
  • Mekong River Commission

Cambodia is currently pursuing cooperative arrangements with Thailand and Vietnam.

IMO Conventions and Protocols

Cambodia is considering ratifying and acceding to the Anti-Fouling Convention 2001, the Ballast Water Management Convention 2004 and the London Protocol.