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Silence over Single-hall ship rules

Silence over Single-hall ship rules
Nigeria seems silence over the implementation of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) phase-out rule for Single-hall ships.

Nigeria seems silence over the implementation of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) phase-out rule for Single-hall ships.

Though Nigeria's profile among the commit of maritime nations is rising by the day, the nation seems silence over the implementation of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) phase-out rule for Single-hall ships is becoming a source of worry to the world shipping confraternity. It is also considered as a refusal by Nigeria to join the effort by the United Nations agency to minimize the emission carbon dioxide from ships. Emissions from ships is believed to be the highest pollutant of the atmosphere and old ships are worst pollutants.

Meanwhile, India in its bid to prevent these old and unsafe single-hull tankers from sailing on its waters, the Government was said to have decided not to extend the special exemption granted to the existing Indian flag tankers, to ships registered after December 31, 2009.

This, in effect, means single-hull tankers registered henceforth in the country will not be able to trade along Indian coastal waters after 2010. These tankers will not be eligible for the extended time till 2015 - the special exemption given to the existing single-hull vessels in India.

The move is expected to prevent import of single-hull tankers, which are available at scrap rates in the international market, after the ban on such ships by many countries following the International Maritime Organisation regulations. In India, the phasing out will begin from this year.

In a circular issued on last week, the Directorate-General of Shipping of that country said the special exemption granted to Indian single-hull tankers, shall apply only to such tankers registered before December 31, 2009. However, pending application for registration of single tankers will be treated under the existing guidelines.

The Government decision follows representations made by Indian shipping companies that foreign parties have been trying to dump single-hull tankers to take advantage of the relaxation on IMO regulations granted by India. IMO regulations stipulate phasing out of all single hull tankers by 2010 as part of its efforts to check marine pollution due to oil spill.

However, some countries have been given the concession to operate existing ships till they complete 25 years. India opted for this relaxation. India has around 70 single-hull tankers (1.6 million grt), which need to phased out by 2015.

Single-hull tankers of 40 million grt are currently available in the international market at rock-bottom prices. Of late, there has been a move to bring some of these tankers to India to operate on coastal wasters. Though coastal trade is reserved for domestic lines under the Cabotage regulations, there are ways to get around such restrictions, said a shipping company official.

"We have been asking for measures to prevent dumping of unsafe tankers into Indian waters. Since 100 per cent FDI is allowed in shipping, bringing in foreign tonnage is easier," said Mr S. Ranganekar, CEO of Indian National Shipowners Association.

Under the existing system, Indian shipping lines have the first right of refusal when it comes to movement of cargoes along the Indian coast.

The Director-General of Shipping gives permission to charter foreign ships only if the ship of required size is not available within the country. Such permission is granted only on the basis of a no-objection certificate from the Indian National Shipowners Association.

According to Indian shipping companies, though coastal trade is 100 per cent reserved for Indian ships, their actual share is much lower. Foreign ships are frequently chartered for carrying coastal cargo.

Oil companies have been complaining that they often find it difficult to get the tankers of their required capacity. They also allege cartelisation by Indian shipping lines. Recently, an Indian company is understood to have approached DG Shipping for chartering a couple of single-hull tankers from abroad.


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