The Swiss Maritime Navigation Office

Bulk Carrier
Bulk Carrier © Reederei Zürich AG

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.