Draft Merchant Shipping Bill, 2020

The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has published a draft Merchant Shipping Bill, 2020 and has open it for public consultation. The draft bill has been aimed at repealing and replacing the Merchant Shipping Act of 1958 and the Coasting Vessels Act of 1838.

Key Provisions of the bill

The bill has following provisions:

  1. The bill seeks to improve the welfare of Indian seafarers on the abandoned vessels. It has also the provision of the safety of such vessels.
  2. The Bill also comprise of the provisions for repatriation of the abandoned seafarers in order to comply with the Maritime Labour Convention regulations.
  3. The bill also promote the ease of doing business. It has done away with the   requirement of general trading license for the Indian vessels.
  4. The bill further enables the electronic forms of registration. It grants statutory recognition to the electronic agreements, records and log-books.
  5. The Bill seeks to increase India’s tonnage and to make vessel a tradeable asset.
  6. The bill has also a provision of promoting India as a bankable shipping jurisdiction. It seeks to avoid situations that lead to wreck.
  7. It seeks to introduce the first-time statutory framework to regulate the maritime emergency response against the maritime incidents
  8. The bill will make India an active enforcement jurisdiction.
  9. It also incorporates the powers of the Director-General so as to take action against unsafe vessels.
  10. The Bill also comprise of the provisions of active enforcement of pollution prevention standards.

Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways

This ministry is the apex body that formulates and administrates the rules, regulations and laws related to ports, shipping and waterways. Currently, it is headed by Shri Mansukh L. Mandaviya.