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India: Major thrust to minor ports

Continuing with its efforts to cash in on the immense potential of minor ports Continuing with its efforts to cash in on the immense potential of minor ports across the state, the government has come up with a slew of measures. Focusing on industrial development of 17 minor ports in the state, the budget proposes to bring in a comprehensive shipping policy.The new policy is aimed at increasing coastal shipping activities, attracting more goods transport through vessels, creating more employment opportunities and reducing atmospheric pollution. It has been declared that the ports at Neendakara, Thalassery, Beypore, Kayamkulam, Vadakara, Kannur, Cheruvathoor, Neeleswaram, Kasargod, Manjeswaram, Azheekal, Vizhinjam, Thankassery, Kodungalloor and Munambam will be developed with infrastructure facilities.An amount of '247 crore has been allocated for the Ports Department for various initiatives. In a clear indication that the Port Department is also stepping into tourism promotion, the Finance Minister proposes to launch tourist transport services to Alappuzha. Tourist services will be operated from Fort Kochi in Ernakulam and Valiyathura in Thiruvananthapuram. There are proposals for developing marinas in Alappuzha and Thankassery ports. The budget has allocated ' 22 crore for Harbour Engineering Department.Source: Express News Service

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India, China and Japan join hands for piracy control

Better coordination among their naval ships India, China and Japan recently agreed for better coordination among their naval ships deployed for escort of merchant vessels in the piracy-infested Gulf of Aden, the Lok Sabha was informed on Monday.In a written reply to a question in the Lower House, Defence Minister A K Antony said, "India, China and Japan have recently agreed for better coordination among their naval ships deployed for escort of merchant vessels in the Gulf of Aden."Denying that the government has plans to sign pacts with neighbouring countries to counter militant activities and check piracy, Antony said, "Nevertheless, the security and surveillance apparatus for coastal defence has been enhanced over the years."Strengthening of coastal security apparatus is an ongoing process considering the needs and changing security scenario as well as the threat perception, he added.In reply to a question on acquisition of fleet tankers, Antony informed the House that Indian Navy has awarded a contract for acquisition of such a ship to a foreign shipyard."Steel offered by the Shipyard Fincanteri, in response to the Request for Proposal (RFP) for construction of fleet tanker, was technically evaluated by a Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC)," he said.Based on technical clarifications offered ...

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INSA asks EU to continue insurance cover to Indian ships

INSA requests incurance cover Shipowners body INSA said it has requested the European Union (EU) to continue providing insurance cover to Indian ships for carrying oil from Iran, which is facing sanctions from the US and Europe."We have written to the European Union to allow its protection and indemnity cover (P&I) club to continue extending cover to Indian vessels," the Indian National Shipowners Association (INSA) CEO Anil Devli told PTI.INSA has mentioned that not providing insurance cover would be against the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, Devli said.The sanctions prohibit EU-based entities from providing insurance and guarantees for transportation of oil from Iran. Most of the Indian shipping lines take protection and indemnity cover (P&I) mainly from them.Shipowners have expressed apprehensions that they may not get international insurance cover following the sanctions, announced on January 23.Earlier, the government said that India is considering providing sovereignguarantee to domestic shipping lines for import of crude oil from Iran. SCI, which operates about 40 tankers, will be one of the most affected companies as it will lose its EU insurance coverage for oil fleet operating in Iran from July 1, as European insurers will be prohibited from indemnifying ships ...

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India’s preventive Security Measures for Combating Piracy

Anti-piracy measures The Union Minister of Shipping, Shri G.K. Vasan informed the Lok Sabha today in a written reply to a question that no Indian Merchant Ship has been hijacked during the last three years.The Minister further stated that the Government has initiated various preventive / mitigating security measures for combating piracy which include the following:- An Inter-Ministerial Group of Officers (IMGO) has been set up to deal with hostage situation arising out of the hijacking of merchant vessels with Indian crew on board.- Issuance of Notices by Director General of Shipping detailing elaborate anti-piracy measures (Best Management Practices) including safe house/citadel.- Banning of sailing vessels to ply in waters south or west of the line joining Salalah and Male vide M.S. Notice 3/2010 dated 31/3/2010.- Naval escort provided by Indian Naval Ships in Gulf of Aden.- Enhanced vigil by Indian Navy in Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and estward up to 65 degree east longitude.- Active participation in International Maritime Organization and Contact Group on Piracy off the coast of Somalia (CGPCS) and other international forums.- Submission of Document 27/9/1 at the IMO Assembly for flag states to provide information on welfare of captive crew, efforts of release and ...

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Shipping community pleased with India’s anti-piracy efforts

Piracy off Somalia is currently at the lowest level International shippers are "impressed" with the Indian military's confrontation of the piracy off the coast of Somalia and have expressed the appreciation of the efforts."We are very grateful to the efforts of the Indian military and their contribution to tackle the Somali piracy is really very impressive. The international shipping community is very pleased with that," Simon Bennett, director of external relations of the London-based International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), said.He pointed out that piracy off Somalia was currently at the lowest level with about 200 seafarers held in captivity."However, this is totally unacceptable," he said. He also called on India to allow the embarkation and disembarkation of armed guards on merchant ships."We understand the sensitivities of the issues in India about people with arms and terrorism. But we are sure that working through the international community procedures can be agreed whereby it is possible to embark and disembark armed guards in India," said Bennett, who is here to attend the three-day Asia Pacific Maritime 2012 conference in Singapore which opened yesterday.He declined to comment on the Italian marines facing court charges in India for killing two Indian fishermen, but said ...

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EU calls for rules on ship guards

After Italy-India diplomatic spat The European Union called on Tuesday for international rules on the use of armed guards aboard ships amid a diplomatic spat between Italy and India over two Italian marines jailed in the south Asian country.EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton discussed the issue with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti in Brussels after the two oil tanker guards allegedly killed two Indian fishermen they mistook for pirates last month."She underlined the need to put this incident into the broader context of international co-operation on counter-piracy and more specifically on the issue of regulating the protection aboard ships," her office said in a statement.Several nations have allowed shipping companies to hire armed guards to protect their ships sailing through pirate-infested waters off the Horn of Africa, stirring a debate about their use.The two Italian marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, have been imprisoned in India's southern state of Kerala pending a murder investigation despite pressure from Italy for them to be handed over to Rome for prosecution.Italy argues India does not have jurisdiction in the case as it involved an Italian-flagged vessel and occurred in international waters near India.India disputes this, saying the incident happened in waters under ...

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Merchant vessels asked to report presence of armed guards

Vessels to exercise extreme caution when within 50 nautical miles of the Indian coast Following the killing of two local fishermen off the Kerala coast by Italian marines aboard an oil tanker, Directorate General of Shipping here has issued a notice, saying that merchant vessels should report the presence of armed guards to the Navy or the Coast Guard."All merchant ships are advised to report the presence of armed guards on board to the Indian Navy or the Indian Coast Guard," says the notice signed by Captain Harish Khatri, Deputy Director General of Shipping and issued on March 7.It also advises vessels to exercise extreme caution when within 50 nautical miles of the Indian coast.Fishing trafficThe merchant vessels should take note of dense fishing traffic on the Indian coast, along with the possibility that they may be approached by the boats for safeguarding fishing nets, and should not mistake such boats for pirate skiffs (as happened in the Kerala incident), the notice reads.The merchant vessels are also expected to report any suspicious craft within the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to the Coast Guard.According to the notice, over three lakh fishing boats operate off the Indian coast. "Fishing off the ...

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Italy warns India about ship firing detentions

India detains two Italian marines who killed two Indian fishermen at sea Italy warned India on Wednesday that it was creating a "dangerous" precedent by detaining two Italian marines who were on an anti-piracy mission when they allegedly killed two Indian fishermen at sea.Premier Mario Monti relayed the warning during a telephone call with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh as the diplomatic standoff reached the highest levels of government as well as the halls of the European Union.According to a statement from Monti's office, Singh agreed to transfer the marines from prison to somewhere "adequate to their status."The marines, who were providing anti-piracy security aboard a cargo ship, are accused of shooting the fishermen Feb. 15 after mistaking them for pirates off India's southwest coast.A court in the southern state of Kerala on Monday ordered them jailed for another two weeks while officials investigate.New Delhi says the case should be tried in India because the killings occurred on an Indian boat. Rome says the shooting took place in international waters and the case should be handled in Italy.Italy says the presence of military personnel aboard the cargo ship is governed by an Italian law conforming to UN anti-piracy resolutions, and ...

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India has termed as “worrisome” the increase in attacks by pirates

Calling on the international community to adopt a comprehensive counter-piracy strategy India has termed as "worrisome" the increase in attacks by pirates off the coast of Somalia, calling on the international community to adopt a comprehensive counter-piracy strategy to deal with the problem.India's Permanent Representative to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri said such a counter piracy strategy should involve effective sanitisation of the Somali coastline and enactment of national laws on a priority basis to criminalise piracy.It should also involve naval operations by UN-led anti-piracy force as well as coordination of anti-piracy operations by various naval forces, Mr. Puri said at an open debate on Somalia at the UN Security Council here yesterday.Mr. Puri said a number of seafarers, including over 30 Indians, are currently being held as hostages by pirates adding that the humanitarian condition of the hostages is a source of "serious concern" for the Indian government."What is more worrisome is that attacks by pirates have been increasing in spite of counter-piracy operations. Given the growing scope and expanding coverage of piracy off the coast of Somalia, the international community has to think about adopting a comprehensive counter-piracy strategy," Mr. Puri said.He said India, on its part, continues ...

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Cargo support for Indian flag vessels

8 per cent of the Indian cargo is being carried by Indian vessels The Union Shipping Ministry is on the verge of finalising a programme for cargo support for Indian flag vessels to help the shipping industry, which is passing through its worst phase on account of a slump in the global shipping business. Though the Indian trade has multiplied several times, tonnage is a little below 1 percent of the global tonnage, said Mr K. Mohandas, who retired as the Shipping Secretary last week."We will be able to attract more tonnage once we provide some assurance on cargo," he said, adding, that the Ministry is in the process of consultingwith other user Ministries - such as Petroleum, Power, Steel and Fertiliser - that can provide cargo support for Indian flag vessels. "Right now, our assessment is that only 8 per cent of the Indian cargo is being carried by Indian vessels. This figure was 30 per cent in early 80s," he said.On the relaxation of Cabotage law, the Shipping Secretary said, "It is now at an advance level of final decisions. The proposal will go to the Cabinet in the next two weeks." Once the Cabotage law is relaxed, ...

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