Marine Transportation Current Affairs

Union Cabinet approves Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2016

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to enact Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill 2016.

The proposal to enact to this bill was forwarded by Union Ministry of Shipping to repeal five archaic admiralty statutes.

Admiralty jurisdiction is related to the powers of the High Courts in respect of claims associated with transport by sea and navigable waterways.

 Key Facts

  • The Bill consolidates the existing laws relating to admiralty proceedings on maritime claims, admiralty jurisdiction of courts, arrest of vessels and related issues.
  • This legislative proposal will also fulfil a long-standing demand of the maritime legal fraternity.
  • It also repeals five obsolete British statues on admiralty jurisdiction in civil matters. They are (i) Admiralty Court Act, 1840 (ii) Admiralty Court Act, 1861, (iii) Colonial Courts of Admiralty Act, 1890, (iv) Colonial Courts of Admiralty (India) Act, 1891, and (v) Provisions of the Letters Patent, 1865,

Salient Features of Admirability Bill, 2016

  • Confers admiralty jurisdiction on High Courts located in coastal states of India, thus extending their upto territorial waters.
  • The jurisdiction will be extendable by the Union Government notification upto exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or any other maritime zone or islands constituting part of India.
  • It applies to every vessel irrespective of place of domicile or residence of owner. It does not apply to naval auxiliary, warships and vessels used for non-commercial purposes.
  • Inland vessels and vessels under construction are excluded from its application. But it empowers Union Government to make it applicable to these vessels also by a notification.
  • It lists the jurisdiction for adjudicating on a set of maritime claims. A vessel can be arrested in certain circumstances in order to ensure security against a maritime claim.

Background

  • India is a leading maritime nation and maritime transportation caters to about 95% of its merchandise trade volume.
  • However, the admiralty jurisdiction of Indian courts under the present statutory framework flow from laws enacted in the British era.
  • The repealing of five archaic admiralty statutes is in line with the Union Government’s commitment to do away with archaic laws which are hindering efficient governance.

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25 June: Day of the Seafarer

The Day of the Seafarer is being observed on 25 June every year as an expression of thanks to the seafarers for their contribution to the economy and civil society of the world.

The observance of the day also acknowledges the risks and personal costs endured by seafarers while being in their jobs.

2016 Theme:At Sea For All”. It highlights that seafarers serve at sea not just for their own career or for the shipping industry or but for all of us. The theme has a clear link with the 2016 World Maritime Day (WMD) theme, “Shipping: indispensable to the world”.

Background

The Day of the Seafarer observed on June 25 was designated by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in 2010. For the first time it was observed in 2011 and since then it is observed annually. The Day of the Seafarers has also been included in the list of observances by United Nations.

The day acknowledges that almost everything that we use in our daily lives has been directly or indirectly linked with sea transport. A per IMO, around 90% of the world’s goods trade is carried out through ships.

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