India will withdraw trading licences for oil tankers and bulk carriers that are more than 25 years old, the Directorate General of Shipping said in an order uploaded on its website late on Monday.
“Age norms will assist in ensuring gradual phasing out of fossil fuel ships and ushering of alternate/low carbon energy efficient ships,” the directorate said in the order. As per the order, the existing guidelines stipulate that no prior technical clearance is required for acquisition of vessels below 25 years of age and would be required for vessels of and above 25 years of age. “There is a need to modernise the Indian fleet, which requires extensive review of the requirements of the registration and operation of the ships, to ensure quality tonnage under Indian flag,” reads the order.
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Level playing field
The shipping regulator said there is also a need to create a level playing field for Indian ships by applying the requirements for quality tonnage over the foreign flag vessels also which are required to apply for licence under Sections 406 & 407 of Merchant Shipping Act, 1958.
“The matter has been discussed extensively with Indian National Ship-owners Association (INSA), and comments of other stakeholders like ICCSA/ ONGC have been taken. Thereafter, a draft of the order was published on January 13 for stakeholder’s consultation; comments and suggestions from the stakeholders were considered on its merit, towards culmination of this order,” it read.
The order shall be applicable to all the Indian and foreign flag vessels required to be licenced under Sections 406 & 407 of the MS Act, 1958. Accordingly, this order shall also be applicable to vessels granted exemption from licencing under Sections 406 & 407 of the Act.
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3 years for existing vessels
The existing vessels regardless of their age on the date of issuance of this order, affected by the maximum age prescribed in the order, shall be allowed to operate up to three years from the date of the issue of this order.
Similarly, foreign flagged vessels requiring licence under Sections 406 & 407 of the MS Act, 1958 and already engaged in charter on the day of this order, shall also be allowed to operate up to three years from the date of the issue of this order or until the charter period, whichever is earlier.