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Shipping Ministry closely monitoring piracy incidents: Vasan

Chennai, Fri, 18 Nov 2011 ANI

Chennai, Nov 18 (ANI): Union Minister of Shipping G.K. Vasan today said his ministry is closely monitoring incidents of piracy through the Director General of Shipping, in close coordination with the Navy, Defence and External Affairs ministries.


Addressing the international seminar on "Towards Sustainable Shipping" organised by Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers here, Vasan said: "One of the main and most serious threats to shipping is in the form of piracy off the coast of Somalia. A large area of the Arabian Sea has been affected by this threat thereby pushing up the cost of freight carried through this critical shipping corridor." asan disclosed that the Government has also issued guidelines on providing of armed guards on board merchant ships to deter pirate attacks.


Regarding Government's efforts towards handling shipping accidents he said: "While shipping is seen to be an eco-friendly mode of transport compared to road and rail, there is further scope of improvement in controlling noxious emissions while ships are at sea and in port."


"The Government has put in place a legal framework to handle shipping accidents by acceding to two international conventions, that is, the Wreck Removal Convention and the Protocol to the Convention on Limited Liability for Maritime Claims. We will also be acceding to the Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage and the Convention for the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling System on Ships very soon. These initiatives will provide a strong legal framework to claim compensation in case of oil spills, ship wrecks and other accidents", he added.


About the Government's approach on safety measures, Vasan said: "The Indian Government accords highest priority to safety at ports. All the major ports have already been directed to ensure safe- handling and disposal of hazardous goods."


"Accordingly, instructions have been issued to all major ports by the Ministry of Shipping to scrupulously follow the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code adopted by the International Maritime Organisation," he added. (ANI)


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