Parliament nod to two shipping bills

New Delhi: Parliament Tuesday passed two bills to protect marine environment and to improve the working condition of seafarers.

PTI| Updated: Dec 02, 2014, 22:36 PM IST

New Delhi: Parliament Tuesday passed two bills to protect marine environment and to improve the working condition of seafarers.

The Merchant Shipping (Amendment) Bill, 2013 and the Merchant Shipping (Second) Amendment, Bill 2013 were passed in Lok Sabha, a day after these were cleared by Rajya Sabha.

"This is in the interest of the country, workers and the shipping industry," Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said winding up discussion on the two bills.

He said the provisions in the bill are in line with the recommendations of the International Labour Organisation.

Responding to the concerns raised by the members with regard to seamen's training, he said that Rs 50 crore has been set aside from the skill development fund to help apprentices seek training in overseas ships.

Gadkari also talked about the initiatives taken by his Ministry to encourage inland waterways and introduce sea planes in various locations.

The Merchant Shipping (Amendment) Bill, 2013 was brought to amend the Merchant Shipping Act to protect marine environment and human health from adverse effects of the use of listed harmful anti-fouling systems under a global convention.

The Merchant Shipping (Second) Amendment, Bill 2013 to amend the Merchant Shipping Act was brought to enable India to accede to a global convention that exempts Indian vessels on international voyages from inspection and aimed at improving the working condition of seafarers.

Gadkari said chemical paints used in ships affect the marine eco-system and India intends to accede to the International Convention for Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships, 2001 (referred to as AFS Convention 2001).

The convention aims at protecting the marine environment and human health from adverse effects of use of listed harmful anti-fouling systems.

On the Merchant Shipping (Second) Amendment, Bill 2013, Gadkari said this will pave the way for providing better working conditions for the seafarers.

 He said the bill was brought as India wants to accede to International Labour Organisation's Maritime Labour Convention ( MLC) which provides for international standards for the living and working conditions of seafarers including food and medicare.