Shipping Board plea to roll back demarcation area

$300,000 is spent per day on security to control piracy, says NSB chief

The National Shipping Board (NSB) in its 120th meeting has taken serious note of the issue of piracy against vessels and has decided to recommend the authorities to roll back the high risk demarcation area from 78 to 65 degree East.

Briefing media persons after the meeting, National Shipping Board Chairman Capt P V K Mohan said that the piracy was an issue of serious concern and $300,000 a day is spent on security purpose to control piracy. The NSB officers will discuss the issue with the International Maritime Organisation and demand for the roll back of the high risk demarcation.

Providing additional information on the piracy threat, Deputy Director General of Shipping Capt Harish Khatri said that the piracy level has considerably reduced in the last nine months, which is the lowest since 2009. However, nine ships with 165 seafarers are still under captivation by Somalia pirates who should be released. “Efforts taken up at the international level to curb the piracy issue, has been yielding results. Efforts are on to produce the best ships to ensure that they will not be the soft targets for pirates,” said Khatri.

Captain Mohan said that the NSB would also recommend the government on positioning an emergency toeing vessel on the East coast. One vessel is positioned at Mumbai at present, which has been now sent to Chennai. Hence, understanding the need for an additional vessel, the NSB would ask the government to position the toeing vessel on the East coast as well.

On setting up of major ports in the maritime states, Capt Mohan said that NSB had written to all nine maritime states to set up additional major ports in each of the maritime states. “It has been taken up in two states and the NSB has received response from Gujarath and Kerala as well. We are awaiting for responses from other states too and we will send the technical teams to examine feasibility soon after we get the response,” he said.

Wreck removal

Responding to a query on wreck removal in the sea, he said the matter was discussed in an international convention held at Nairobi two years ago. In the convention, it was maintained that every ship should carry a mandatory cover for removal of the wreck and the proposal on the same has been sent to the Indian government.

“Once the proposal is accepted and implemented, wreck removal issue will be sorted out. However, in the convention it was referred that the wreck need not to be physically removed, rather it would depend on the hazards the wreck would cause.

The Chairman also said that the NSB would recommend the Ministry to set up a fishing harbour 25 km North from New Mangalore Port. “Considering the request from the NMPT, we have decided to recommend for setting up the harbour with the Ministry.”

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