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The Swiss Maritime 
Navigation Office
Elisabethenstrasse 33 
P.O. Box 
CH-4010 Basel 
Tel. +41 61 270 91 20 

Yachts section:
Tel. +41 61 270 91 26
Fax: +41 61 270 91 29
 dv-ssa@eda.admin.ch

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Swiss Maritime Navigation Office

View from a Swiss ship.

Switzerland enjoys freedom of navigation on the Rhine. © FDFA

The FDFA's Swiss Maritime Navigation Office is responsible for the Swiss merchant fleet. The ships are privately owned. However, the Swiss Confederation may commandeer them for the country's economic needs in time of crisis or war. 

Switzerland has a maritime commercial fleet, under the responsibility of the Swiss Maritime Navigation Office (SMNO) of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). The SMNO, based in Basel, also maintains the register of all Swiss ocean-going yachts and small boats.
 
Switzerland enjoys freedom of navigation on the Rhine and its tributaries and, thus, duty-free access to the sea. Switzerland is a member of the Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine (CCNR), headquartered in Strasbourg.

The right to commandeer ships

If need arises, the Confederation may commandeer Swiss commercial ships to ensure the country's economic needs. It was for this reason that the Swiss maritime fleet was established in 1941.
 
Indeed, ensuring the country's supply of essential goods in time of crisis or conflict is still why a merchant fleet operates under the Swiss flag, although these ships are privately-owned and used according to market needs in peace time.

 Merchant ships
Information on the make-up of the Swiss merchant fleet and the administrative role of the Swiss Maritime Navigation Office

 Ocean-going yachts and small boats
Registration of ocean-going yachts and small boats sailing abroad under the Swiss flag

 Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine
Role, importance and tasks of the Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine, of which Switzerland is a member

 Information for seafarers
Seamen's books, STCW certificates, training of sailors and prerequisites.

 Login for shipowners