The Indian government has recently approved the country’s proposal to ratify the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage.
Also known as the Bunker Convention, it provides for “adequate, prompt, and effective compensation” for damage caused by spills of oil carried as fuel in ships’ bunkers.
The convention was adopted by the IMO in early 2001, and put into effect late 2008 and is said to be ratified by maritime countries that make up 91% of global shipping tonnage.
The convention will apply to Indian vessels irrespective of where they spill, and to a foreign-flagged vessel within Indian jurisdiction.
“The registered owner of every vessel has to maintain a compulsory insurance cover which allows claim for compensation for pollution damage to be brought directly against an insurer,” an official statement said.
Every ship above 1,000 gross tonnage needs to carry a certificate on board to the effect that it maintains insurance or other financial security such as guarantee of a bank or a similar financial institution.
In India, the Directorate General of Shipping would issue the certificate while in foreign countries, respective maritime authorities would do the needful, the statement said.
“No vessel will be permitted to enter or leave India without such a certificate,” it added.
The Indian government also approved proposals to amend the Merchant Shipping Act 1958 to protect Indian waters from wreck hazards.
India said the proposed amendments would bring about a “more purposeful approach towards removal of wrecks, salvage and protect Indian waters from wreck hazards and introduce internationally-recognised and approved rules for removal of wrecks.”
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