Jurisdiction - India
India – Latest Developments In Shipping Legislation.

23 May, 2013

The Union Shipping Ministry of India has got cabinet nod to ratify two major conventions. Upon the amendment of the Merchant Shipping Act pursuant to the approval of the Indian Parliament, these two conventions will be adopted. A brief summary of the two conventions is as follows:


International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships (AFS Convention)


A convention which prohibits the use of harmful organotins (compounds containing carbon) on the hull of the ships or external surfaces usage of which is believed to harm marine life and therefore, the overall environment.


Ships entering the jurisdiction of the Parties to the AFS Convention all ships are required to prohibit and/or restrict the use of harmful anti-fouling systems. The convention will apply to all ships operating in the marine environment and includes hydrofoil boats, air-cushion vehicles, submersibles, floating craft, fixed or floating platforms, floating storage units and floating production storage and off-loading units under Part XI B of the proposed amendment to the Merchant Shipping Act.


The convention provides a relief of compensation to a shipowner in case of detention or delay for scrutiny done to a ship. Further a list has been annexed to the convention stating the elements to be prohibited or controlled, which will be updated from time to time.


Most of the Indian ship-owners have already complied with the requirements of the said Convention. The impact on Indian ship owners will be limited but cost escalation is a possibility for other vessel owners who are not in compliance. After ratification in India, any ship entering Indian port will mandatorily have to comply with the requirements under the said Convention.


Maritime Labour Convention, 2006


This is the much awaited convention by the seafarers of the country, which has been long over-due. After years of deliberation with various stake holders India is ready to ratify the much needed Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC 2006). This convention has been mooted and pushed by International Labour Organisation (ILO). The convention provides for a comprehensive rights and guidelines regarding labour conditions on Maritime vessels. India contributes a significantly large number of seafarer’s from the total of 1.2 Million seafarers from across the world. This convention seeks to protect seafarer’s interest; ratification from India will be taken as good news for Indian seafarer’s community. The MLC 2006 is based providing decent work for seafarers and providing them protection to secure their economic interest. This convention will result in standard maritime labour practices world over and will result in better work conditions. Main heads of the MLC 2006 are as under:


(a) Minimum requirements for seafarers to work on a ship

(b) Conditions of employment

(c) Accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering

(d) Health protection, medical care, welfare and social security protection

(e) Compliance and enforcement


The primary focus of MLC 2006 is to have minimum standard of working conditions for maritime labour world over in maritime industry. The convention lays emphasis on providing better quality of working conditions. The Convention has specifically dealt with Repatriation of seafarer’s from abroad. The Convention makes it obligatory

for a member states to repatriate seafarers to their home country at no cost to seafarer’s.




Ratification of these two conventions by India will be a step forward in the right direction. India has to act as a proactive partner in matters relating to safety of environment and working conditions of labour at the world level. The AFS Convention may lead to increased costs of painting the vessel for ship-owner and other vessel owners. However, the effect seems to be quite marginal as majority of ship-owners are already in compliance with the convention.


The Maritime Labour Convention might lead to increased costs for the ship-owners in terms of better facilities and other amenities to be provided to the seafarers. However, in long run the ratification to the Maritime Labour Convention will be in the interest of Indian seafarer’s which accounts for a large portion of the seagoing community world-over. Overall, there seems to be consensus without much opposition on these conventions being affected into Indian law.


This article was supplied by Clasis Law


For further information, please contact:


Harsh Pratap, Partner, Clasis Law

Shipping Maritime & Aviation Law Firms in India


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