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India : Enabling Order for Facilitating Mercantile Marine Activity.

The Ministry of Shipping has issued an order to facilitate trade using inland waterways and mercantile marine activity along coasts. The Directorate General of Shipping has issued an order declaring waters inward of the baseline, as per the notification under Maritime Zone Act, as Inland Waters .

These orders would enable vessels that are hitherto allowed to operate only in rivers and other inland waters to operate in sea waters within this baseline. This is expected to contribute for a greater degree transportation of goods and trade within the country and along the coast line.

The amended Inland Vessels Act, 1917 along with the Section 3(41) of the Merchant Shipping Act provides the legal frame work for such operations. Such an area where these vessels will be allowed will have to have partially smooth waters with waves of not more than two (2) meters. The order states that those coastal states seeking extension of Inland waters beyond the base line may carry out relevant analysis through the National Institute of Oceanography.

The Coastal states having a Maritime Board are delegated with the authority for registering and monitoring all aspects of safety of vessels based on the model code prescribed by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI). The Coastal States having no maritime boards have to seek delegation of authority from the Directorate General of Shipping to register and monitor all aspects of safety of Inland vessels. The Directorate General of Shipping had issued a River-Sea Vessel Notification in August this year, for all vessels on coastal areas in this regard.

The Ministry of External Affairs had earlier under the Maritime Zone Act had notified all the waters within the baseline around the Indian Coast including Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands as Internal Waters . These Internal Waters have now been notified as Inland Waters but will be subjected to safety conditions prescribed by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and the Directorate General of Shipping.

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Publication:Mena Report
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Sep 19, 2013
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