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25 ships sink on West Coast in 3 years

As many as 25 ships have sunk in the Arabian Sea in the last three years due to rough weather coupled with negligence of seafarers.

india Updated: Nov 11, 2007 12:50 IST

As many as 25 ships have sunk in the Arabian Sea in the last three years due to rough weather coupled with negligence of seafarers, a top shipping official has said.

"Data for the last three years on shipping casualties in the Arabian sea have been analysed in depth which shows 23 ships sank due to serious technical and human failure aboard such ships," Nautical Surveyor-cum-Deputy Director General of Shipping (Technical) Captain Deepak Kapoor has said in a reply under the Right to Information Act.

The response came in the wake of an application filed by a Mumbai resident-- Attar Azeemi who wanted to know the reason behind the sinking of five merchant vessels during monsoons this year.

"The factors and primary cause of these accidents have been--very severe weather conditions during the monsoon period, the negligence on part of the Indian seafarers in exercising due care and displaying their professional skills in discharging their duties," Kapoor said.
In addition to this, poor maintenance of the vessels by the owners along with various other factors like slips, lapses, mistakes, fatigue, defect in design of ships, which have contributed towards sinking ships, he added.

According to the DG Shipping, two ships with Indian crew flying Indian and foreign flag sank in the Arabian sea in July due to poor maintenance, severe weather conditions, lack of observance of good seamanship besides safe watch keeping practices as prescribed in national and international regulations.

The operation of foreign flag ships while in Indian waters is governed under the provisions of the Marine Safety Act (MSA), which has incorporated maritime related international conventions for safety of life at sea.

Similarly, Indian flag ships, wherever they may be are governed through MSA rules. It is the responsibility of the ship owner to comply with the provisions of these regulations in sending the vessel in sea worthy state and maintain this status during its operation.

"Master and the crew are required to comply with the procedures set by the owner relating to safe operation of the vessel. But in this case, it was observed that either the owner or crew have failed to discharge their obligations which led to technical or human or both failures," Kapoor said.

The Deputy DG Shipping said that under the provisions of Marine Safety Act, a formal investigation by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate has been ordered in the two cases.

First Published: Nov 11, 2007 12:45 IST