Ships without oil spill insurance cover can't dock in Gujarat



Ahmedabad: Learning lessons from recent incidents of oil spill, Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) has directed that ships without oil spill insurance cover would not be allowed to be docked on ports in the state.

"We have invoked the wreckage removal and oil spill cover clause in insurance for the ships coming to get docked at the ports here," GMB Chief Nautical Officer S C Mathur told PTI.

"The vessel owners, while submitting their documents on estimated time of arrival at the ports, will also have to produce documents for upto date premium paid for their vessel as per the clause," Mathur said.

"The vessels that do not submit the required documents will not be allowed to dock at the ports in Gujarat," he said.

The state's regulatory body for ports and related- activity GMB, taking a cue from the losses suffered by Maharashtra following a collision of two ships MSC Chitra and MV Khalija III, invoked the clause on November 1.

Maharashtra suffered a loss of around Rs 250 crore after the two ships had collided on August 7 near Jawharlal Nehru Port Trust, leading to heavy oil spill and blocking of traffic.

An estimated 6,000 big vessels (having dead weight tonnage capacity between 4,000 to 2 lakh MT) annually come to Gujarat, a GMB official said.

The move has irked ocean carriers as they will now have to shell out higher premium for getting insurance cover to comply with the new rule, industry sources said.

"A representation from ASSOCHAM has indicated that after this move the Protection and Indemnity Club in England, a major insurer of vessels, is likely to increase the premium amount," a GMB official said.

A vessel owner has to pay close to USD 50,000 as premium for availing insurance cover for wreckage removal and oil spill per ship, industry sources said.

In routine course, the ocean carriers take insurance cover only for hull and machinery by paying lower premiums, they added.

Close to eleven ports are operated by GMB in the state, including Jafrabad, Okha, Bhavanagar, Magdalla and Navlakhi.

GMB handled traffic of 205.51 MMT during 2009-10 compared to 153 MMT in the previous year.

PTI