Photo: 197797773 © Subhajit Mondal |

The Indian government is tightening rules on aging ships sailing into its waters. India has decided to ban tankers and bulk carriers aged 25 years old or above, both Indian registered and foreign vessels, from operation in its ports. The move comes amid growing marine safety and environmental concerns.

The new norms would also apply to foreign vessels, the regulator said, adding that existing vessels affected by the new cap, shall be allowed to sail for three more years, regardless of their current age.

Whereas the average age of world fleet is on the declining trend, the average age of the lndian tonnage is on the increasing trend over the years. The government of India wants to encourage a more modern fleet and safer marine environment, in order to meet global rules on ship emissions.

“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 lndian flag,” the Directorate General of Shipping said in the order.

The age restriction will be applicable to Indian and foreign vessels that require a licence from the Directorate General of Shipping under Section 406 and 407 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958.

Further the age limit will also be applicable to vessels granted exemption from licencing under section 406 and 407 of the Act.

However this order shall not be applicable to passenger vessels, FSRU, FPSO, and Drilling /Production units certified under MODU/SPS Code, as applicable.

Specifically, the Directorate General of Shipping issued in the previous week an order on the age norms, and other qualitative parameters for the registration and operation of vessels under Indian Flag, and for foreign flag vessels required to apply for Licence under section 406 & 407 of The Merchant Shipping Act 1958.

All ‘Existing Vessels’ regardless of the age, affected by the maximum age prescribed, shall be allowed to operate up to three years from the date of the issue of the order.

Vessels acquired/to be acquired under Indian Control Tonnage regime would also be treated in the same line with Indian Flag vessels. Under current guidelines, vessels that are less than 25 years old can be acquired without any technical clearance.

Foreign flagged vessels requiring licence under Section 406 and 407 of the M S Act and already engaged in charter on the day of the order, will also be allowed to operate up to three years from the date of order or until the charter period, whichever is earlier.

The age of the vessel will be computed from the “Date of Delivery” as mentioned in the Cargo Ship Safety Construction Certificate or any other Statutory Certificate issued under the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Convention/Code.