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Maritime Security Issues Dominate India-Japan Defence talks

India and Japan to step up Bilateral Military Exercises Maritime security, anti-piracy measures, freedom of navigation and maintaining the security of Sea Lanes of Communication to facilitate unhindered trade by the sea routes-are some of the issues that dominated the India-Japan Defence Ministers' Meeting in Tokyo last week. The delegation level talks, led by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony and his Japanese counterpart Mr Yasuo Ichikawa, recognized the importance of sea lanes and decided to 'actively pursue consultations and cooperation in the field of maritime security both bilaterally and in association with all other countries in the region'.The Indian delegation included the Defence Secretary Shri Shashi Kant Sharma, the Indian Ambassador to Japan, Shri Aloke Prasad, the Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral RK Dhowan and GoC-in-C, Central Command, Lt Gen VK Ahluwalia.Speaking at the meeting, Shri Antony said, Maritime Security challenges are becoming increasingly complex and varied. Shri Antony said India has substantially increased its anti-piracy deployment in the East Arabian Sea since November 2010. He, however, felt that concerted efforts of the world community, under a UN mandate, are necessary to effectively address the problem.Shri Antony said anti piracy efforts need to be supplemented by adoption ...

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Safety of ferry passengers at sea

The ferries used at Gateway of India are poorly maintained, overloaded, and lack necessary safety MTDC officials claim that the Maharashtra Maritime Board is not doing enough to maintain and repair the boats docked near the Gateway of India, which offer rides on the Arabian Sea to commuters.Tourists and travel-junkies, who wish to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Arabian Sea, are all on the same boat: these boats are rocky, poorly maintained, and difficult to mount. The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) had raised concerns about the dilapidated condition of the vessels and the lack of basic rescue gear. But according to officials, their complaints have fallen on deaf ears.If the MTDC officials are to be believed, their representatives had informed the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) about the decrepit condition of boats being used to transport people from Gateway of India to various destinations. They had also requested the MMB to rectify the boats to avert any untoward incident. They now claim that no constructive action was taken to address their concerns.On Thursday, 125 tourists, including women and children, were stranded off Elephanta Island for nearly two hours. Their boat broke down mid-sea due to a technical snag. ...

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Indian-built Havyard AHTS delivered to Shipping Corporation of India

Three more to the same design are currently under construction The first offshore vessel to a Havyard design to be constructed in India has been handed over to owner Shipping Corporation of India (SCI). Three more to the same design are currently under construction.The four ships, to the 841 design by Havyard of Norway, are being built for SCI by Indian shipyard Bharati. The remaining ships are scheduled for delivery by March 2012.The first of the four, SCI-Panna, is the first vessel to a Havyard design that this yard has constructed and it is also the first Havyard-designed supply vessel that SCI has purchased. Herøy-based Havyard designed the 841 as far back as 2007, with the Indian market in mind. SCI-Panna has a bollard pull of 80 tonnes, is 64.8m in length and has deck capacity of 400m2. There is accommodation for a crew of 31.Source: The Motorship

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India shipping firms eye expansion in dire market

Indian shipping firms eye low asset prices Indian shipping firms are planning to expand their fleet to take advantage of falling vessel prices and a sharp downturn in the global freight markets, industry executives said on Tuesday.India's shipping firms view the difficult economic environment as a buying opportunity, as they expect to see a huge boom in seaborne trade in Asia's third largest economy over the next decade."We will look at expanding our fleet because asset prices are low, but it has to be strategically done," said Yudhishthir Khatau, vice chairman and managing director of oil carrier Varun Shipping , on the sidelines of the India Shipping Summit."With added capacity, we still have to face low freight rates."A flood of new vessels this year has pushed the crude tanker market to unprecedented lows, with average daily earnings falling to negative territory for the first time.A similar situation is expected to hit the dry bulk market over the next few months, as industry experts believe the oversupply of ships will reverse a recent rally.Despite the adverse market conditions, state-run Shipping Corp of India has not received any directive from the government to stop acquiring vessels, a top official said.Shipping Corp of ...

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GAIL, Petronet, Shell are likely to co-operate for LNG terminal

To build a liquefied natural gas terminal in India Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. (500109.BY) is in initial talks with three companies including Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) to build a liquefied natural gas terminal in India, a senior MRPL executive said Tuesday."Several issues like ownership, gas sourcing, investment, the size of the terminal are under discussion," the executive, who didn't wish to be named, told Dow Jones Newswires.GAIL (India) Ltd. (532155.BY) and Petronet LNG Ltd. (532522.BY) are the other companies MRPL is talking to, the executive said.MRPL, a unit of state-run Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (500312.BY), operates a 236,000-barrel-a-day refinery at Mangalore in the southern state of Karnataka. It is looking to invest in an LNG terminal as it seeks cheap gas for its petrochemical plant and refinery."We need 2.8 million standard cubic meters of gas a day, and an investment into an LNG terminal would be the best way to secure supply," the executive said.Shell India declined to comment on the matter while GAIL didn't immediately comment. A Petronet executive, who didn't want to be named, said that "discussions have been held with MRPL for a terminal at Mangalore but there isn't anything concrete."A shortfall in domestic ...

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Myanmar Port to Open Up North East India Trade

A $120 million port and multimodal transport project in Myanmar A $120 million port and multimodal transport project in Myanmar will open up international trade with India's isolated North East provinces.As part of a recent bilateral trade deal signed by Myanmar and India, the two countries pledged to complete the scheme linking the provinces to Sittwe port in Myanmar overland via India's Mizoram by 2013.The port requires extensive dredging and the construction of new terminals but once operational will offer direct sailings to enable shippers to pick up mainline services Kolkata. The two countries also pledged to double bilateral trade to $3 billion by 2015 by reducing trade tariffs.The North Eastern states, commonly known as the Seven Sisters, have failed to benefit from India's rapid economic growth, not least because they are only linked to the rest of the country and its ports via the Siliguri corridor, which skirts around northern Bangladesh through the Hamalaya mountains. The 932-mile journey to the nearest major Indian port - Kolkata - can take a week overland.India has also been rebuilding its fractured relationship with Bangladesh, where the latter's port of Chittagong also offers efficient access to the Seven Sisters.Source: The Journal of Commerce

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US eyes India- China ties on anti-piracy

Anti-piracy efforts could spur three-way cooperation The United States said that anti-piracy efforts could spur three-way cooperation with India and China, insisting that it seeks stronger relations with both rising Asian powers. In a speech on US regional strategy, a senior official hailed democratic India as a positive force in Asia but insisted that Washington also sought to work with China, whose ties with the United States are often uneasy.Robert Blake, the assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, noted that naval power by Britain in the 19th century and the United States in the 20th century had helped ensure global commerce. "Perhaps it will be the cooperation of the American, Indian and Chinese navies that ensure global commercial routes are protected and enhanced in the 21st century," Blake said. "It is for this very reason that eliminating the scourge of piracy could be a natural way for the United States, India and China to begin to cooperate at sea," Blake said at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.India and China -- along with developed nations such as Japan -- have been stepping up their response to piracy emanating from lawless Somalia which in recent years ...

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Indian Prime Minister seeks control on maritime piracy

More than 100 pirates have been caught and are awaiting trial in India India's prime minister on Saturday said piracy was threatening "a large number of Indian seafarers" and warned that the domestic shipping industry's growth depended on stepped-up maritime security.Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that recent attacks in regional waters were a sign of higher risk from pirates, who were previously known to operate off Somalia in the Gulf of Aden."Instances of pirate attacks in the Arabian Sea and more recently in the Indian Ocean -- much beyond the piracy-infested areas of Gulf of Aden -- pose a serious threat to us by putting at risk a large number of Indian seafarers and ships, as also our seaborne trade," he said.Singh's remarks followed the hijacking of an Indian merchant vessel -- with 21 Indian sailors on board -- near the port of Oman in August by suspected Somali pirates."Incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships are a cause of concern to all of us and to the shipping industry in particular," Singh told a function at the state-run Shipping Corp. of India."Any industry can thrive only in an atmosphere of safety and security," Singh said in Mumbai, India's ...

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Shipping ministry to regulate old ships

Regulating the movements of ships that are more than 25 years old Minister of shipping GK Vasan announced that the union shipping ministry would regulate the movements of ships that are more than 25 years old, in Mumbai on Saturday.Vasan, in his speech at the valedictory function of the golden jubilee celebration of the Shipping Corporation of India Ltd in Mumbai, said that the notification was to ensure a cleaner and safer coastline. Director general of shipping, Satish Agnihotri told DNA, "After the oil spill from MV Chitra, and instances of MV Pavit and Wisdom running aground near the Mumbai shore, we decided to regulate the movements of the old ships. The ships sailing in the Indian seas will need the classification certified from the International Association of Classification of Societies and should comply with the insurance norms," he said.Agnihotri said that Wisdom, MV Rak, Khalija, Chitra were older ships, and newer ships were found to comply with all the norms related to classification and insurance. Vasan said that incidents of piracy off the coast of Somalia are one of the biggest challenge the shipping sector is facing."Our ministry is working closely with the ministry of external affairs, the Indian ...

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Shipping Corporation of India on brink of financial collapse

Shipping Ministry raises alarm Warning that an Air India-like situation is being replicated at SCI, the Shipping Ministry has raised red flag over the state-run company's plans to acquire fresh vessels, stating the firm stands to lose around USD 200 million from the proposed purchases.According to an internal document of the Shipping Ministry, Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) "is on the brink of financial collapse" and its plans to acquire 33 vessels would lead into a "debt-trap, almost on the lines of Air India"."SCI, which has had a profitable run for the last 19 years, is on the brink of a financial collapse...the company will be in the red from this year onwards. The large and high cost orders are leading to a debt-trap almost on the lines of Air India," the document said.According to the document, the is a significant gap emerging between the cost per vessel as per contract and market value of the vessel at present."The overall loss to the company on account of such acquisitions, where there are gaps between the contract price and the present market value, is in excess of USD 200 million," the document said.As on date, SCI has 33 vessels on order, ...

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