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2017 was a year of consolidation, says Ministry of Shipping

For the Ministry of Shipping, 2017 has been a year of consolidation, a year of building up on the good work of the past few years, and strengthening the ground for further ongoing development. It highlighted some of the salient features in a release.

The release has the following for the shipping sector.

Legislation

The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Act, 2017

 The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Act, 2017 was enacted on August 9, 2017. The Act consolidates the existing laws relating to admiralty jurisdiction of courts, admiralty proceedings on maritime claims, arrest of vessels and related issues and repeals five obsolete British statues on admiralty jurisdiction in civil matters. The Act confers admiralty jurisdiction on High Courts located in coastal states of India and this jurisdiction extends up to territorial waters. This Act will fulfill a long-standing demand of the maritime legal fraternity.

 Now, High Courts of all the coastal states will exercise admiralty jurisdiction over maritime claims which include several aspects not limited to goods imported and chattel as earlier, but also other claims such as payment of wages of seamen, loss of life, salvages, mortgage, loss or damage, services and repairs, insurance, ownership and lien, threat of damage to environment, etc. The legislation accords highest priority to payment of wages of the seafarers. It also provides for protection against wrongful and unjustified arrest and has provision for transfer of cases from one High Court to another High Court.

 The Merchant Shipping Bill, 2016

 MS Bill was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee in December 2016. The Committee gave its recommendations on July 18, 2017. The recommendations of the Committee have been examined. Cabinet Note on proposal for acceptance/non-acceptance of the recommendations of the department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture and introduction of official amendments to Merchant Shipping Bill, 2016 was circulated for inter-ministerial consultations on 10.10.2017 and is expected to be approved by the Ministry of Law. Thereafter, it will be submitted to the Cabinet and then the Lok Sabha would be requested to take up the Bill for consideration and passing along with official amendments.

 Indian maritime sector

 The shipping industry is one of the most globalised industries operating in a highly competitive business environment. This industry is far more liberalised than most of the other industries and is, thus, intricately linked to the world economy and trade. Indian shipping tonnage, which was only 1.92 lakh Gross Tonnage (GT) on the eve of Independence, now stands at 122.32 lakh GT with 1,359 ships as on 31.10.2017.

 Shipbuilding Financial Assistance Policy

 The government of India has an ongoing Rs 4,000 crore Shipbuilding Financial Assistance Policy for 10 years (2016-2026) to encourage domestic shipbuilding. Under this policy, financial assistance is granted to Indian shipyards equal to 20 per cent of lower of "contract price" or the "fair price" of each vessel built by them.

 The Ministry of Shipping on 31.10. 2017 rolled out an updated version of the web application, along with an amended set of guidelines, for facilitating shipyards to apply under the policy.

 Upgradation of Environment Management Plan at Alang-Sosiya ship recycling yards

 A loan agreement was signed on 15.09.2017 between JICA and the Ministry of Finance for grant of soft loan of $ 76 million for upgradation of the environment management plan at Alang-Sosiya ship recycling yards.

 Shipping Corporation of India

 A secondhand VLGC size gas tanker was delivered to Shipping Corporation of India on September 14, 2017 at Khorfakkan, UAE. With this, SCI became a 6-million DWT company.

 

Cochin Shipyard

 ‘Make in India’ by Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL): Under the Make in India initiative, Cochin Shipyard is constructing four passenger-cum-cargo vessels as per order placed by the Andaman and Nicobar Administration. Two of the vessels will have a capacity of 500 persons and 150 tonnes of cargo and the other two will have a capacity of 1,200 persons and 1,000 tonnes of cargo.

 International Ship Repair Facility

 The Minister of Shipping laid the foundation stone for the International Ship Repair Facility at Cochin Port Trust on 17.11.2017. This facility is being developed by Cochin Shipyard at a cost of Rs 970 crore. It will have a ship lift and transfer system, six work stations and allied facilities and is expected to generate employment for 1,500 persons.

 Dry Dock

 Cochin Shipyard is also setting up a Dry Dock, to augment its shipbuilding/ship repair capacity, at a project cost of Rs 1,799 crore. The contract for the project will be awarded shortly and is scheduled to be completed in 30 months thereafter.

 Issue of IPO

In order to raise funds for these projects, Cochin Shipyard went in for an IPO by way of issue of 3,39,84,000 shares of Rs 10 each amounting to Rs 33.984 crore. The issue, which opened on August 1, 2017 and closed on August 3, was oversubscribed by 76.18 times.

 Indian Maritime University

Indian Maritime University (IMU) has introduced 3 new courses—BBA (Logistics, Retailing and E-Commerce), M.Sc. (Commercial Shipping Logistics) and M.Tech (Marine Engineering and Management)—from the Academic Year 2017-18. IMU has signed a MoU with Southampton Solent University.

IMU headquarters has been built on 300 acres of land at a cost of Rs 130.80 crore in Chennai.IMU’s Mumbai Campus has been bifurcated into IMU Mumbai Port Campus and IMU Navi Mumbai Campus. A new Academic Annex Building for installing simulators was inaugurated in June 2017. It has framed about 20 new ordinances and modified old ordinances which have been published in the Gazette. Agreement has been signed to set up a Centre of Excellence (CoE) at IMU, Visakhapatnam Campus with SPV, comprising IRS, Siemens and Ministry of Shipping.

 International Cooperation

International Maritime Organization

 India got re-elected as a member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council under Category ‘B’ by getting second highest number of votes during the IMO Council election held at the IMO on December 1, 2017.

 Agreements/MoUs signed

 A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the government of India and government of United Arab Emirates on Institutional Cooperation on Maritime Transport was signed on January 25, 2017.

 A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Federal Transport Authority - Land and Maritime in the United Arab Emirates and the Directorate-General of Shipping on the Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Competency as per the provisions of the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW, 78) and amendments thereof was signed on January 25, 2017.

  An agreement on merchant shipping between India and Cyprus was signed on April 28, 2017.

 A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the Netherlands for bilateral cooperation in the fields of ports, maritime transport and logistics, which was originally signed on February 12, 2008 and, subsequently, renewed on May 10, 2011 and May 11, 2014, was further extended on October 11, 2017 for a period of 3 years till October 10, 2020 as per the renewal clause mentioned in the said MoU.

  A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Austria on October 3, 2012 on technology cooperation in the shipping and ports infrastructure sector was valid for a period of 5 years till October 2, 2017. It was renewed for another period of 5 years beginning from October 3, 2017 as per the renewal clause mentioned in the said MoU.

Directorate-General (Shipping)

 Merchant Shipping (Continuous Discharge Certificate) Rules, 2017

New Merchant Shipping (Continuous Discharge Certificate) Rules, 2017 have been notified. The main objective of the new CDC Rules is to facilitate the issuance of CDCs and hence smoothen the entry of budding seafarers into the maritime profession. The restrictive conditions in the previous CDC Rules for getting an Indian CDC were a hindrance for entering into the profession. This was against the mantra of ‘ease of doing business’ and were also contrary to the stated objective of the government of India for increasing the share of Indian seafarers in the global shipping industry.

 COASTAL SHIPPING

 On the request of the Ministry of Shipping, the Department of Fertilisers has included the primary movement of subsidised urea and P&K fertilisers by rail and/or coastal shipping or inland water transportation. Now, the movement of subsidised fertilisers by the coastal route and also by road qualifies for reimbursement of freight subsidy which will encourage the coastal movement of fertilisers, said a release.

 

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