DEFINITION OF SHIPPING CASUALTY – Sec. 358(1)
- For purposes of an investigation and inquiry, a shipping casualty shall be deemed to have occurred in the following cases :
- Any ship is lost, abandoned, stranded or materially damaged on the coasts of India.
- Any ship causes loss or material damage to any other ship on the coasts of India.
- Any loss of life occurs due to any casualty happening to or on board any ship on the coasts of India.
- Any of the above casualties occur to or on board an Indian ship at any place.
- Any evidence of an Indian ship being lost at sea is available in India
On his or his ship’s arrival in India, Master shall report the incident to the officer appointed by Central government. Fine Rs.500 or simple imprisonment for 3 months for not reporting. Sec. 358(2)
If the ship is materially damaged making it unseaworthy, or if loss of life or serious injury occurs, then the owner or Master shall report the same, within 24 hours, to the nearest Principal Officer. Fine Rs.500 for not reporting. Sec. 350.
Following officers have been appointed by the Central government for receiving reports of and conducting a preliminary inquiry into shipping casualties :
- Principal Officer / Surveyor of MMD — All casualties.
- Deputy Conservator of major port — Any casualty within the docks or if the ship belongs to the port or where the pilot is on board.
- Port Officer of minor port — Any casualty involving sailing vessels and fishing vessels, or involving ships within the port’s jurisdiction.
- Collector of Customs — Any casualty involving sailing vessels and fishing vessels.
- Officer specially appointed — Explosion or fire casualties. Sec. 388 and 389
INVESTIGATING OFFICER’S ACTION
The officer shall take following actions : Sec. 359
- Inform the Central government that a casualty has occurred.• Conduct a Preliminary Inquiry (PI).
- Record the statements of Master and other crew members, with their signatures, but without the presence of any other person.
- Call for documents from the ship as appropriate.
- Send report to Central government with one or more of the following recommendations:
- No further action.
- Warning to defaulters (No other penalty can be imposed).
- Stricture to owners.
- Issue MS Notice.
- Order Formal Investigation (FI) or Court of Inquiry (CI)
- PI report is totally confidential and not given even to any court.
- Copies of the statements are given to the affected persons only if the matter goes to a court.
this Article might extend in near future stay tuned