Tag Archives: India

SHIP RECYCLING: India’s Supreme Court bans entry of foreign ships with toxic waste

The Supreme Court on Friday ruled that ailing foreign ships waiting to be dismantled in ship-breaking yards at
Alang must be first washed of their toxic materials at their place of origin before they enter the Indian waters.

In a landmark judgment while hearing a lawsuit filed by the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and
Natural Resource Policy, the apex court asserted that the vessels that carry wastes must be cleaned “before
entering into Indian waters”.

Disposing of the PIL filed in 1995, the court directed the Union government to “ban import of all hazardous/toxic
wastes which had been identified and fit under the BASEL Convention and its different protocols”.

A bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and J Chelameswar also directed the government to bring the Hazardous
Wastes (Management & Handling) Rules, 1989, in line with the BASEL Convention and Articles 21, 47 and 48A of
the Constitution.

The petitioner’s lawyer Sanjay Parikh had drawn the court’s attention to the authorities’ indifference to the court’s
mandate and their facilitating foreign ailing, contaminated ships carrying waste oil to enter the country.

According to a recent application filed by the foundation, besides ‘Oriental Nicety’ there were many other ships
that were lined up at the entry of the Indian waters. It said that since the court’s 2007 directions, many ships have
been allowed entry and broken at the vessels graveyard.

One of the mandates passed by the court was that before a ship arrives at port, she should be armed with
“proper consent” from the authority concerned or the State Maritime Board that she is hazardous free and not
carrying any radioactive substances.

She should be properly decontaminated by the ship owner prior to the breaking. This should be ensured by the
state pollution control boards.

Disposal of waste material such as oil, cotton, dead cargo of inorganic material like hydrated or solidified
elements, theromocol pieces, glass wool, rubber, broken tiles et al “should be done in a scientific manner so
that 99.9 per cent contamination is washed off away from India.

Source: http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_sc-bans-entry-of-foreign-ships-with-toxicwaste_1711722-all

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FAIRCHEM BOGEY | Crew of hijacked Indian ship “safe”

Maritime officials till late Monday were still trying to ascertain the final destination of the hijacked tanker ”M T Fairchem Bogey”, last spotted in Somalia waters.

The ship was hijacked from Salalah port, Oman, on Saturday. The ship with 21 Indian crew were reported to be safe and according to an official spokesperson of the Anglo-Eastern Ship Management, the captain was allowed to speak to company officials here. However, the pirates have not made any contact with the owners, the shipping company officials or with any designated authorities, the spokesperson informed Deccan Herald.

The relatives of the crew members have been duly informed and the shipping company has put up three family support centres in India. The ship due to inclement weather has not dropped her anchor and is reportedly cruising just north of Bandar Beyla, in Somali waters.

However, Director-General of Shipping Satish Agnihotri told Deccan Herald: “Though the ship has been tracked down, it is difficult to state as to where the pirates intend to drop anchor. Three different groups operate in Somalia waters. Each group has its own style of functioning, different demands and separate anchorage points located in northern, central and southern coastal bays.”

Source: http://www.deccanherald.com/content/185644/crew-hijacked-indian-ship-safe.html


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MARITIME NEWS | India: 113,000 tons of oil spilled along the coastline in 29 years

The Indian Coast Guard, designated as the first response agency to combat oil spills in our territorial waters, has released some startling statistics. Over 60,000 tonnes of crude oil has been spilt into the Arabian Sea in the last 29 years, sparking concern over the irreversible damage to marine life.

The spill in the Arabian Sea caused by 23 ship accidents since 1982, amounts to over half the total oil spilt along the entire Indian coastline. Close to 113,000 tonnes of oil has been spilled along the country’s coastline due to 74 ship accidents in the same time frame.

“Things have been particularly bad in the last two years. The oil spill from MV Rak earlier this month, was the second successive blow for the Mumbai coast in the monsoon, which is breeding season for a majority of the marine species. Last August, MV Chitra spilt over 800 tonnes of oil into the Arabian Sea. There is a limit to which ecological balance can be maintained. Once damaged, it may take years to recuperate,” said Deepak Apte, deputy director of BNHS’s conservation department.

Maritime expert Joseph Fonseca, who procured these figures from the Coast Guard (Sunday Mid Day has a copy), said the number of vessels docking into the two city ports is on the rise. A dearth of experienced seafarers implied that accidents are bound to escalate. “Marine officers attain the rank of Captain in barely six to eight years, while in the past, they could only command a ship after 12 to 15 years. A lack of experience could be one of the causes for an increase in these accidents,” said Fonseca.

Captain Dinesh Jairam, a senior maritime professional, who has been in the industry for 30 years, agreed. According to him, qualified seafarers were opting for shore jobs, which has led to a dearth of experienced seafarers on the ship.

“Over 70 per cent of accidents at sea are due to human error. In spite of all the technological advancements in the navigation sector, at the end of the day, all machines are operated by humans, who must have the right expertise,” he said.

President Indian National Ship-owners Association for Mumbai Sabyasacchi Hajara said one reason for senior mariners taking shore jobs could be that India is a growing economy. “Though life at sea is more comfortable compared than it was, if seafarers find lucrative shore jobs that do not involve long time spans away from family, it is natural that they would opt for those.”

According to Chairman of the Maritime Association of Shipowners Shipmanagers and Agents (MASSA) Captain Shyam Jairam, the only remedy is adequate training and mentoring to curb human error.

Disaster timeline
MV Rak sank in the Arabian Sea on August 4, 2011. Had 60,000 tonnes of coal and at least 300 tonnes of fuel oil. Two tonnes of oil has been leaking into the sea every hour since August 6. There are reports that another vessel is presently drifting towards Mumbai.

MV Pavit abandoned off the Oman coast on June 29, 2011 drifted to Mumbai and was grounded at Juhu Versova beach on July 31.

MV Wisdom owned by a Singapore company lost her tow 10 nautical miles off Mumbai on June 11, 2011. It was grounded at Juhu beach. Though oil slick was observed on the beach, there are no confirmed reports on how much was spilt.

January 30, 2011 naval vessel INS Vindhagiri suffered damage after a Cyprus flag merchant ship MV Nordlake collided with it at the entrance of Mumbai harbour.

Source: http://www.mid-day.com/news/2011/aug/210811-Mumbai-coast-Ship-Drowning-Oil-spill.htm

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PERILS OF THE SEA | Piracy, torture and starvation: a nightmare on board

From The Hindu, 2011.06.24:

Tortured by a group of drunk pirates and starved for days together, freedom seemed distant for the six Indian sailors on board m.v. Suez, who had almost given up hope of meeting their families.

And when freedom dawned upon them after ten months in captivity of Somali pirates, they could not believe their nightmare was over and were going to be reunited with family and friends.

“We were beaten when they were drunk and they would use anything they could get their hands on to beat us. We were sure they would kill us. There were moments when I wished they would just kill us so that we escape the torture,” said N.K. Sharma, a rescued sailor.

Ravinder Singh, said, “I feel so happy. I have waited for 10 months for this moment. I didn’t think I would see this day…I thought we all would be killed.”

Torture apart, food was scarce for the sailors who starved for many days. “Some days we just got water. We used to get boiled rice, spaghetti and potato once a week,” Mr. Sharma recalled.

Adding to the ordeal, their vessel ran out of fuel and faced the danger of capsizing, said Sharma. “Besides the physical torture, we faced the danger of capsizing as our fuel had run out and we were drifting. One way or the other, we were sure our end was near,” he said.

Prashant Chauhan, another rescued sailor said that even after Pakistan human rights activist Ansar Burney facilitated their release the sailors were still not sure if their freedom was real.

“Even during our travel to Karachi, I didn’t think we were actually going back to our families. The thing we thought would never happen was hapenning now. When I de-boarded my flight I realised this was real. Our nightmare was truly over,” Chauhan said.

The rescued sailors, however, refused to comment on the role played by the Indian government in facilitating their release, which has come in for sharp criticism from the media and families of the sailors.

“Indian and Pakistani media helped us a lot. As far as the Indian government’s role in the release, I don’t want to comment on it,” said Ravinder.

Now all that the sailors want to do is to be spend time with their families and to recover from the nightmare. .

“We’ve been through a lot these past few months. I just want to get back to my family,” said a visibly overwhelmed Biju from Thiruvanthapuram.

The crew of the m.v. Suez was brought to Karachi on Thursday by Pakistan Navy warship PNS Zulfiqar, which had picked up sailors from the waters off Oman. The MV Suez had sank somewhere off the coast of Oman after running out of fuel.

The crew, including 11 Egyptians, four Pakistanis and one Sri Lankan, were shifted to Pakistani warship PNS Babar after the m.v. Suez ran out of fuel and started sinking.

The crew was then transferred to another warship, PNS Zulfiqar, for the voyage to Pakistan. The m.v. Suez, owned by an Egyptian company, had been first boarded by Somali pirates in August last year.

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PIRACY | Freed Indian seafarers back home

From The Hindu (India), 2011.06.24:

After 10 months in the captivity of Somali pirates, six Indian sailors of MV Suez vessel touched down on home soil on Friday to an emotional welcome from family members.

The sailors came by an Emirates flight from Dubai which landed at IGI Airport at 9.36 am, and were received by family and friends carrying garlands.

Relatives broke down in tears at the sight of the rescued sailors as their children carried placards that read ’Thank you Ansar Burney uncle, we love you’, in a reference to the Pakistani human rights activist who facilitated their release from the sea brigands.

Closely holding his three-year-old son, Ravinder Singh Bhulia, one of the released crew members who hails from Rohtak, said, “The Indian and Pakistani media helped us a lot. As far as the Indian government’s role in the release, I don’t want to comment on it“.

With tears rolling down her cheeks, his wife Champa said, “The pain would never go“.

Another released crew member Prashant Chauhan said, “I am very happy. I waited for this moment for 10 months“.

The Indians were part of the 22 member crew, including four Pakistanis, a Sri Lankan and 11 Egyptians, who were freed last week after ransom was paid to the Somali pirates.

The crew of the MV Suez was brought to Karachi on Thursday by Pakistan Navy warship PNS Zulfiqar, which had picked up sailors from the waters off Oman.The MV Suez had sank somewhere off the coast of Oman after running out of fuel.

There was no government representative to receive them at the airport.

N K Sharma, another released crew member, said, “Whatever the Pakistan government has done is really praiseworthy. We don’t know what the Indian government did or did not, but the Pakistan government has treated us well.”

Recounting his ordeal, Sharma said they starved for many days and on some days they just got water.

“We used to get boiled rice, spaghetti and potato once a week,” he said.

Family members of the released men thanked Mr. Burney for facilitating the release of the sailors, but complained that the Indian government did little to save the sailors.

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SHIPPING NEWS | India to join convention on removal of ship wrecks

The Hindu | 2010.11.05

India has decided to join the Nairobi International Convention on Removal of Wrecks and adopt international norms in shipping.

The Union Cabinet on Thursday cleared the path by approving amendments to the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958, which proposes to enable a more purposeful approach towards removal of wrecks and salvage.

These amendments — which have become necessary consequent to India’s accession of the Nairobi Convention — would seek to address problems arising from the increasing number of wrecks and remove discrepancies in the existing rules and regulations so as to bring them in line with developments in international shipping, maintained official sources.

Adopted by 64 countries, the convention lays out a firm jurisdictional basis for dealing with hazardous wrecks, apart from aiming at improving navigational safety and maritime security.


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MARITIME | Lessons from Mumbai ship collision

The collision should be an eye-opener for Mumbai port authorities.

N. K. Kurup | The Hindustan Business Line

What could have caused the collision between two ships in broad daylight in Mumbai harbour that led to the oil spill along the coastline and suspension of vessel traffic to Mumbai and JN ports last week? Human error, negligence on the part of the captain and failure of communication facilities are being discussed as part of the speculation doing the rounds.

As the Director-General of Shipping is investigating the cause of the mishap, it may not be appropriate to comment on it. However, a look at the ship traffic management system at Mumbai port and the circumstances in which the collision took place may help understand the outcome of the investigations better.

How it happened

According to reports, the collision took place around 10 a.m on August 7 in the common channel for both Mumbai and JN Port. The container ship MSC Chitra, which was coming out of JN port, was hit by the break-bulk carrier MV Khalijia III, as it was proceeding to berth at Mumbai port. Following the collision MSC Chitra tilted and over 300 loaded containers fell from the ship into the water, blocking vessel traffic though the main channel.

The ship slowly moved and was grounded outside the channel. The other vessel, its bows severely damaged, was safely berthed at Mumbai port. Salvage experts were immediately summoned and many of the containers have been retrieved. Traffic has partially resumed from Friday, with the help of the Navy.

Common channel

Ships coming to Mumbai and JN Port terminals use a common main navigation channel, before entering the respective port’s approach channels. The movement of ships at Mumbai and JN ports is controlled by a Vessel Traffic Management System equipped with high frequency electronic communication facilities.

The VTMS, similar to the air traffic control system for aircraft, uses radar and high frequency radio telephony to keep track of ships. Each port has a different VHF channel. JNPT operates on VHF-13 and Mumbai Port VHF-12.

According to senior official at JN Port, a ship coming into Mumbai port from JN port can, depending on the facility on board, keep both the communication channels on. If that is not possible, it has to switch over from VHF-13 to 12 when it enters the Mumbai port.

Pilotage is compulsory for all large ships calling at Mumbai port. At the time of the collision, however, both the ships in question were commanded by their own captains.

According to Mr Rahul Astana, Chairman, Mumbai port, this was because both ships were away from the pilot’s station. The JNPT pilot disembarked the container ship before it entered the main channel while the Mumbai port pilot was yet to board the other ship.

A collision in such a situation raises several questions. Was there a communication failure? Did the captain fail to switch to the right channel? Did he fail to act on the warning? The enquiry report will hold the answers to these questions.

The owners of the container ship MSC Chitra allege that MV Khalijia III flouted the navigation rules that led to the collision. According to the vessel’s voyage data recorder, they claim their ship was proceeding well within its way though the main channel when the other ship re-entered the channel after crossing it and turned to the port side, flouting navigation rules.

As it happened, within two minutes, it was hit by the other ship’s bow. The Khalijia has yet to come out with any statement. However, there are also reports that the voyage recorder shows alert messages sent by the captain of the Khalijia-III to MSC Chitra’s captain. Fortunately, there was no loss of human life but the oil spill caused by the mishap could endanger marine life along the coast line. Apart from retrieving the fallen containers, there is a huge cost involved in the clean-up of the oil slick.

Mr S. Venkiteswaran, senior maritime lawyer, says the owners of both ships will have to bear the costs, based on the percentage of their responsibility in the incident. It could be 50:50 or 75:25, or any other ratio. That can be fixed only after the investigations are over and based on its findings.

Lack of preparedness

According to Mr S. Hajara, Chairman SCI, one of the largest port users in the country, accidents do take place at ports. Quick response is the key in an emergency situation. Capt S. Shahi, Chairman, Shahi Shipping, a leading coastal shipping operator, said the incident should be an eye-opener for Mumbai port.

Its technical team needs regular training in handling ship traffic. Mr S.B. Agnihotri, Director-General of Shipping, who is co-ordinating the salvage operations, said: “We did our best. This is evident from the fact that the ports could resume traffic within five days. However, night navigation may take some more days to begin.”

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