In the wake of several serious incidents in the coastal waters of India due to heavy weather, the Mercantile Marine Department has been instructed to undertake mandatory rigorous Port State Control inspections on all ships over twenty years of age.
The Union Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways has asked all major port authorities in India to ensure that ships leaving or entering ports are capable of manoeuvring safely till they are well clear of the ports and their approaches.
The Minister called a meeting after five recent incidents where merchant ships have become disabled or grounded in coastal waters due to very rough weather. These incidents have resulted in the loss of four ships and the loss of four lives.
The high profile meeting, attended by senior officers from the Coast Guard, Navy, Ministry of Defence, Directorate-General of Shipping and Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), was convened to review the situation and identify immediate steps for improving emergency response and preparedness to mitigate such incidents in the future.
Masters can expect to be cautioned about the prevailing weather conditions prior to leaving Indian ports. During deteriorating weather conditions, ships at anchor will be directed to keep their engines in a state of readiness.
Members with ships of over twenty years of age trading to and from India are alerted to the fact that Port State Control will undertake rigorous inspections to encourage incident-free voyages.