Since becoming a member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 1996, Mongolia has ratified and adhered to over 30 conventions and treaties related to the maritime industry. Key instruments include the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982, the 1958 Convention on the High Seas, and the Barcelona Declaration of 1921, which recognizes the Right to a Flag for States without a Sea Coast. (Click here to view the agreements, conventions, and amendments ratified by Mongolia)

The legal framework for governing maritime and waterway activities in Mongolia was established through the adoption of the Maritime Law in 1999, the Procedure for Registration of Ships in the Mongolian Ship Register (MSR) in 2003, and the Law on Waterway Transport in 2003.

Operational areas of the Mongolia Maritime Administration (MMA) encompass the application of both domestic and international maritime laws and regulations, ship registration and monitoring, maritime transportation, dry and sea port utilization, domestic waterway transport registration and monitoring, as well as the training of national professionals in the maritime field.

In accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, Mongolia exercises its right to have its flag flown on ships, conducts flag state control, inspections of ships flying its flag, and upholds its obligations to the international community.

Article 94 of the Convention outlines fundamental obligations of the flag state in administrative, technical, and social domains. Administrative duties involve maintaining a ship register, enforcing the International Safety Management (ISM) Code and the Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Shifting of Seafarers (STCW 95), and incorporating relevant provisions of international laws and regulations on environmental protection and safety into national laws and regulations. Technical responsibilities include arranging inspections in line with international conventions on Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), Load Lines, and Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), and issuing certificates. In terms of social responsibility, action is taken to ensure seafarers employed by Mongolian-flagged ships have access to opportunities and living and working conditions that meet the standards of the Maritime Labor Convention of the International Labor Organization (MLC, 2006).

The MMA prioritizes improving its responsibilities and commitments to the international community, recognizing that the evaluation of a country's fulfillment of these obligations impacts global assessments of safety on board ships, marine environment preservation, and pollution prevention.

Under the IMO Instruments Implementation Code (Code III) for environmental protection and maritime safety, the Maritime Administration is obligated to create and approve plans for carrying out IMO conventions and agreements, enhance the country's maritime laws and regulations to comply with international treaties and conventions, and routinely monitor and assess the implementation of these laws and regulations. (For comprehensive details on the Flag State’s obligations as outlined in the IMO Instruments Implementation Code (Code III), please click here)

An IMO-IMSAS audit of Mongolia's exercise and implementation of its rights and obligations as a Flag State took place in November 2016. The audit aims to strengthen Member States' capacities, ensure consistent and effective implementation of applicable IMO instruments, and enhance overall performance globally and in accordance with instrument requirements. As per the audit's recommendations, Mongolia must improve the legal framework for the maritime industry, integrate mandatory standards and regulations from international agreements and conventions into domestic laws, bolster the workforce with qualified individuals, and modernize the inspection system for registered vessels.

Based on the audit's recommendations, the Government of Mongolia approved a plan for the implementation of maritime conventions and agreements by Resolution No. 201 in 2018. This resolution called for revisions to the Mongolian Maritime Law to align it with international conventions and treaties. A new draft law was presented to the Parliament in 2019 and subsequently approved by the State Great Khural's plenary session on June 3, 2022.

Accompanying rules and regulations have also been adopted alongside the approval of the revised Maritime Law, available at the following link:

Regarding inland waters, the 2017 approval of the amended Law on Waterway Transport and its ongoing implementation are overseen by the Administration through the registration, inventory, and technical control inspection of domestic waterway transport vehicles, among other tasks outlined in the law and its implementing regulations.