Key information

  • Flag:Thailand Flag
  • Population:68,400,000 (approx.)
  • Coastline:Over 3,200km
  • Maritime Authority:The Marine Department (MD)


The Mekong River provides a key means for transporting people and goods – both within Thailand and to and from the country’s neighbours Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Thailand has over 4,000 km of waterways, of which roughly 3,700 km is navigable by waterborne vessels.

The country’s economy includes the leading exports – electronics, appliances and machinery, textiles and rice. It counts tin, tungsten, lead and gypsum as some of its mineral resources, while timber and rubber are parts of the forest industry. The country’s major industries include crude oil, natural gas and chemicals. Thailand’s tourist attractions include island resorts and beaches, the Monarch’s Palaces, and historical sites.

Ports Of Thailand

Thailand’s main ports are Laem Chabang Port, Bangkok Port, Songkhla Port, Chiang Saen Port and Map Ta Put. There are also 3 cruise ship terminals in the country. The Port Authority of Thailand set up a strategy stipulating management and operation plans of each port under its control.

Flag / Port State Responsibilities

The MD is tasked with ship registration, ship inspections, surveys and audits ensuring the seaworthiness and standard compliance of Thai-flagged ships. The enforcement of national and international maritime standards including port state control activities are carried out by the Ship Standard Bureau and Marine Safety and Environment Bureau.

Merchant Fleet

Thailand’s merchant fleet of size 500 GT and above consists of 202 dry cargo ships and 215 tankers which are engaged in both international and domestic voyages.

The MD is mandated to promote ship building, port development and the Thai merchant fleet as well as the various activities related to providing convenient, safe and prompt transport of goods and people.

Laws & Regulations

Maritime transport is regarded as a vital sector in Thailand’s quest for sustainable economic growth and is a major contributor in raising the national income level. Thailand has adopted a national maritime transport policy to facilitate this aim.

Thailand is exposed to several environmental hazards, including a steady depletion of its water table, drought, air and water pollution, soil erosion and threats to its wildlife brought about by illegal hunting. To this end, it has signed several agreements and treaties, such as the Climate Change-Paris Agreement and Kyoto Protocol, as well as those on Ozone Layer Protection, and the Protection of Endangered Species. It has signed, but not ratified, the Law of the Sea.

The Thai Navigation Act and the Vessel Act are two pieces of legislation which serve as legal bases in the exercise of marine environment protection functions.

The Marine Safety and Environment Bureau (MSEB) of the Marine Department is tasked with ensuring and monitoring the proper and effective implementation of the provisions relating to marine environment protection. MESB is the primary unit which undertakes coordination with other Government agencies performing related functions on environment protection.

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

  • International Maritime Organization (IMO) – Member
  • Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) – Founding Member
  • ASEAN Maritime Transport Working Group (MTWG) – Member
  • Tokyo Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Inspections – Member
  • Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) – Member
  • Coordinating Body of the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA) –Participant
  • Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) – Partner
  • Women in Maritime Asia (WIMA ASIA) Member
  • Marine Environment Protection of the South – East Asian Seas (MEPSEAS) – Participant

IMO Conventions

Under the MEPSEAS Project, Thailand will continue the process of ratifying the London Protocol and MARPOL Annex V which was initiated under the IMO-Norad Phase I Project.