PHDCCI representation on issues concerning the Shipping industry and suggestions

Request your Attention on the issue of age norm for all types of vessels operating in Indian Water

PHDCCI has been serving the Nation for the past 117 years. We appreciate the concerns expressed by the Government about the safety measures in Indian waters in the aftermath of “Cyclone Taukte.”

Issue-Bringing across-the-board age norms for vessels operating in India:- Introduction of the age norm for all vessels operating in Indian Water.

Our Justification

In most countries, including Developed countries, users such as Port Authorities, Exploration companies, and Charterers insist on an age norm. This age norm varies on a user-to-user basis and the type of vessel. However, Flag states don’t specify any age norm.

We would strongly recommend that ship owners must be asked to focus on the safety and maintenance of these rather than age at all times. Any boat certified by the class authority on Seaworthiness may be allowed to operate irrespective of age. Barge P305, which unfortunately resulted in an accident, was a young vessel.

While the concept of bringing age norms is laudable, the introduction of such rules may be brought in a calibrated manner so that the commercial survival interests of local shipping companies are taken care of, and they get enough time to ready themselves to meet the new norm.

If this is not done, local industry will get wiped out, and foreign vessels shall corner the entire business at a much higher cost. This will result in being dependent on foreign shipping companies which will spell trouble for the national interest. —

Our Suggestion:-

A stricter health check regime should be formulated in consultation with the Industry and Class authorities for vessels that are above a certain cut-off age. These vessels should be allowed to operate as long as these vessels meet the stringent health check regime.

This will incentivize companies to spend money on their older ships to ensure they can be operated as safely as possible.
The second suggestion is to bring a sunset clause for phasing out of old vessels like – three years from the date of the circular coming into force. This will give enough time to ship owners to make their contingency plans and renew their fleets.
Since the Shipping industry is very heavily capital intensive, it won’t be possible for any company to continue their fleet without giving suitable time. Providing a concise period for renewing the fleet will send the market for second-hand vessels soaring, which will harm the Indian Shipping Industry.
New shipbuilding takes 18-30 months, depending on the kind of ship being built; we request a window of three years.
Irrespective of the Sunset clause, ongoing contracts with PSUs / Government Authorities, etc., as of the date of coming into force of the circular, should be allowed to be completed irrespective of the age of the vessel.
Issue-Making Lifeboats mandatory on Non-propelled Accommodation Barges Till the sinking of P-305, Exemption was granted from the installation of Lifeboats on Accommodation Barges. The barges are used for particular purposes such as Diving, Pipe laying, ROV diving, Subsea construction work, etc.
This practice is adopted by other flag states as well. Therefore, considering the practical problem of installing lifeboats which would otherwise hamper the work for which the Barge was being used, we are giving the following suggestions for your consideration please:-
Lifeboats are essential, but the Barges should be allowed to install lifeboats gradually. Presently, India has yet to be an approved manufacturer of bigger-capacity lifeboats, and Chinese manufacturers are the only ones available. The lead time for supply is a minimum of 3-5 months. Therefore, it takes work to procure the lifeboats immediately.
Besides, a lot of engineering and time is required to be done before installing the lifeboats. Therefore, time should be given to comply with the requirement as is the norm for all the new regulations. Ship Owners should be allowed to install the lifeboats in a staggered manner over two years. They should be allowed to operate the Barges as per existing guidelines.
The lifeboat installation should also be done for 50% of the capacity of the Barge, and the remaining should be allowed with existing arrangements so that operational capacities are not compromised.
in this context, we request you look into these issues urgently to save this Industry. An expeditious action on the subject will significantly help Industry; we sincerely hope our request will be considered favorably.
This article was shared with Prittle Prattle News as a Press Release.
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