India has clarified that vessels operating in Indian offshore facilities should also hold a valid third-party liability cover against maritime claims such as oil pollution, wreck removal and damage to port property.
The stipulation mandated under Merchant Shipping (Regulation of Entry of Ships into Ports, Anchorages and Offshore Facilities) Rules, 2012 has not been followed by some vessels used in supporting offshore oil installations.
On May 17 last year, an accommodation barge ‘P-305’ working for ONGC broke from its anchor in heavy winds and high waves brought by cyclone Tauktae sank after hitting an unmanned oil platform off the coast of Mumbai, in which 86 workers on board the barge died.
“During the investigation of maritime casualties that occurred during cyclone Tauktae, it has been observed that certain vessels operating in Indian offshore facilities may not have been complying with the requirements of the Merchant Shipping (Regulation of Entry of Ships into Ports, Anchorages and Offshore Facilities) Rules, 2012,” the Director General of Shipping, Amitabh Kumar wrote in a 10 February order.
“It is clarified that, the requirements of the Merchant Shipping (Regulation of Entry of Ships into Ports, Anchorages and Offshore Facilities) Rules, 2012, are also applicable to the ‘offshore facilities’. All vessels shall comply with these rules and the operator of the ‘offshore facility’ shall ensure that all vessels calling their offshore facilities comply with the requirements specified in the aforesaid Rules,” Kumar wrote in the order.
Further, the port authorities or the operators of the offshore facilities should ensure that all statutory, convention, insurance certificates and trading license of the vessel shall remain valid during stay of such vessel in the Indian coastal waters.
“Compliance with the requirements needs to be checked each time the vessel enters the port or offshore facility. In case the vessel stays in port or offshore facility continuously for one month or more, then compliance needs to be re-checked by the port authority or the offshore facility operator on a monthly basis. In addition, the port authority or offshore facility operator may check as and when required to ensure compliance,” Kumar added.
The third-party liability risks have to be insured with the London-based International Group of Protection and Indemnity Clubs (IG Clubs) or such other insurance company authorised by the government, according to the 2012 rules.
Globally, such third-party risks are insured with the IG Clubs, a 13-member group based in London that provides liability coverage for about 90 per cent of the world’s ocean-going ships. Besides, the directorate general of shipping has granted permission to 16 non-IG Clubs to provide cover to ships calling at major ports.
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