Ecuador: Maritime Law and Security Issues

Ecuador is a country located on the western coast of South America. It has a rich maritime history and is home to several important ports and shipping lanes. In recent years, the government has been focused on ensuring the safety and security of its waters and maritime traffic. This article will provide an overview of Ecuador’s maritime law and security concerns and the regulations that have been established to address these issues.

Overview of Maritime Law in Ecuador

The maritime law in Ecuador is mainly covered in its national legislation and international treaties. The Constitution of Ecuador establishes the exclusive jurisdiction of the state over the internal waters and the exclusive economic zone, including the continental shelf, of Ecuador. In addition, the government has ratified various international treaties related to maritime law, such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

The legal framework governing all activities related to maritime law in Ecuador includes the Maritime Code, which contains the provisions related to the jurisdictional rights and responsibilities of the state, as well as the rules for the protection of the maritime environment. The Maritime Code is supplemented by specific regulations applicable to specific maritime activities, such as navigation, fishing, and port operations.

Security Concerns in Ecuador’s Maritime Jurisdiction

Ecuador’s maritime jurisdiction is subject to various security concerns, including piracy, illegal fishing, drug trafficking, and human trafficking. The country has experienced a significant increase in maritime crime in recent years, with the Ecuadorian navy being actively engaged in anti-piracy operations since 2019.

In addition, the country is also vulnerable to illegal fishing, as vessels from other countries often trespass into Ecuadorian waters in order to take advantage of the rich fisheries resources. Drug traffickers often use Ecuadorian waters as a transit point for their illicit activities, posing a significant risk to the country’s security and economy.

Regulations Governing Maritime Security

The Ecuadorian government has implemented several regulations to ensure the safety and security of its maritime jurisdiction. These regulations include the establishment of the Maritime Security Zone, which is a restricted area in which ships must obtain permission from the Ecuadorian government prior to entering.

The government has also implemented regulations to combat illegal fishing and other maritime crimes, such as the Fisheries and Maritime Crimes Law, which provides for the prosecution of those engaged in illegal fishing activities. The government has also adopted measures to strengthen the Ecuadorian navy and coast guard, in order to enhance the country’s capacity to monitor and patrol its maritime jurisdiction.

International Obligations and Maritime Security

In addition to its national regulations, Ecuador is also bound by several international obligations related to maritime security. The country is a signatory to various treaties, such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which requires states to take necessary measures to protect and preserve the marine environment.

The country is also a member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which is responsible for facilitating international cooperation in the field of maritime safety and security. The IMO has established various guidelines for the safety and security of ships and personnel in international waters.


In conclusion, Ecuador has a well-developed legal framework governing all activities related to maritime law and security. The government has adopted various regulations and international obligations to ensure the safety and security of its maritime jurisdiction. The country is also actively engaged in the fight against piracy, illegal fishing, and other maritime crimes.

In order to effectively protect and preserve the country’s maritime jurisdiction, Ecuador must remain committed to enforcing its national regulations and fulfilling its international obligations. This includes strengthening its navy and coast guard as well as implementing measures to combat maritime crime. By doing so, Ecuador can ensure that its waters remain safe and secure for all vessels traversing its waters.