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DG exempts Indian vessels from age restriction

DG exempts Indian vessels from age restriction

Mumbai: The Director General of Shipping (DGS) has exempted Indian flagged vessels from the recent ban imposed on chartered ships older than 25 years from plying in India's territorial waters in bad weather, reports the Business Standard. In a fresh circular issued on Tuesday, Deputy DGS Samuel Darse said the ban applies to vessels other than those carrying Indian flag and that the measure is in accordance with the Merchant Shipping Act.

However there are those in the industry who have questioned the motivation for the exemption. "What is the logic behind stating that old 'Indian' vessels would not meet accidents whereas vessels of foreign origin can meet accidents?" the chairman of a shipping company that asked not to be named told the BS. "The move by the DGS was favouring only a particular section of players in the industry and was discriminatory," he added.

Close to 30% of the 850-odd chartered vessels plying India's waters are estimated to be foreign ships.

A top official at the DGS headquarters in Mumbai said the step would mainly curb the malpractice among charter and oil exploration companies.

The circular dated April 25 originally enforcing the ban is reported as saying, "The analysis of the accidents over the past three years showed a significant correlation between the age of the vessels and the break-downs, which caused huge casualties. Therefore, in the interest of marine shipping, the guidelines for chartering of vessels were being revised and a tighter regime of surveys and inspection was being brought on recommendations from an expert committee appointed by the Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways."  [16/05/08]