India: IRClass Helps Strengthen Inland Vessel Legislation

International ship classification society, Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass) has played an integral role in the drafting of the Inland Vessels Bill which was recently passed by the Parliament. The Inland Vessels Act 2021 repeals the earlier Inland Vessels Act 1917 which needed major revisions to remove several archaic and redundant provisions and be in sync with the current times.

The legislation is designed to promote economical and safe transportation and trade through India’s inland waters, by introducing a national framework and uniform applicability of rules and regulations.

IRClass assisted in preparation of the draft IV Bill and participated along with IWAI and Ministry of Shipping in several broad-based consultations with all stakeholders. Stakeholders included several Ministries, Government organisations, State governments, Maritime boards as well as industry participants. Based on suggestions and recommendations from stake holders, the bill was amended accordingly or agreed to promulgate in the rules.

Inland vessel sailing muddy brown waters
Image Credits: IRClass

Under the new legislation, service providers and end users will no longer have to observe different compliance levels from one State to another. The new legislation stipulates higher standards to ensure safety of navigation, protection of life and cargo, prevention of environmental pollution, healthier trade practices, transparency and accountability of administrative mechanisms as well as the training and development of an efficient and skilled workforce.

Sr. Vice President and Divisional Head – Mr. N Girish said: “IRClass was pleased to offer strategic advice on this crucial bill as we look to maintain the highest standards possible and make trade more seamless, safer and environmentally friendly by using inland waterways.”

Mr. K K Dhawan, Vice President and Area Manager added: “IRClass is committed to working with Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways as well as IWAI to provide technical assistance. While drafting the bill, similar international regulations from US, EU, UK, Vietnam including Rhine regulations were analysed. Based on this IV Bill, IRClass is now associated with IWAI in drafting the IV Rules.”

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