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Public consultation begins on India's Merchant Shipping Bill

THE proposed Indian Merchant Shipping Bill, 2020, expected to replace the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958, has been opened for public consultation, reports the Press Trust of India

01 December 2020 - 19:00

THE proposed Indian Merchant Shipping Bill, 2020, expected to replace the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958, has been opened for public consultation, reports the Press Trust of India.

'The draft of the Merchant Shipping Bill, 2020 is issued for seeking the feedback and suggestions from the public,' it said.



The bill proposes to do away with requirements for a general trading licence for Indian vessels, enables electronic means of registration, and grants statutory recognition to electronic agreements, records, and log books, in addition to electronic licences, certificates and payments.



The bill also seeks to increase India's tonnage by widening the eligibility criteria for ownership of vessels and providing for registration of bareboat charter cum demise, thereby increasing opportunities for international trade among others.



The bill seeks to introduce for the first-time statutory framework for regulating maritime emergency responses in maritime incidents. The provisions seek to provide for time effective implementation of response mechanisms to ensure that the same is prevented from becoming a wreck or other catastrophic event.



Provisions for repatriation of abandoned seafarers have been enhanced, in line with the Maritime Labour Convention regulations, the statement said.



The bill incorporates powers of the director-general to take action against vessels that are unsafe and pose a threat to safety of life at sea and the environment, and includes a procedure for appeals from detention orders.



It also incorporates provisions that encourage active enforcement of pollution prevention standards and the central government has been granted the power to mandate compulsory insurance or such other financial security, for pollution damage.



The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways recently issued two draft bills for public consultation, namely Aids to Navigation Bill 2020 and Coastal Shipping Bill 2020, the statement said.


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