Department/Board : Press Information Bureau

Date : 26.11.2020

Ministry of Ports, Shipping and waterways issues Draft Merchant Shipping Bill, 2020 for Public Consultation

New Bill aims to repeal and replace the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958

Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has issued a draft of the Merchant Shipping Bill, 2020 for public consultation. It aims to repeal and replace the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 (Act No. 44 of 1958) and the Coasting Vessels Act, 1838 (Act No. 19 of 1838).

The Merchant Shipping Bill, 2020 has been drafted, with the primary aim of promoting the growth of the Indian shipping industry by incorporating the best practices adopted by other advanced countries like the U.S., Japan, U.K., Singapore and Australia. All up-to-date IMO Conventions / protocols, to which India is a party, have been adopted in it. Adequate provisions are incorporated to ensure the safety and security of vessels, safety of life at sea, prevent marine pollution, provide for maritime liabilities and compensations, and ensure comprehensive adoption of India's obligations under International Conventions.

The envisioned advantages of the Merchant Shipping Bill, 2020 are following:

The Bill seeks to provide increased opportunities for investment and provide greater impetus to a self-reliant domestic investment climate in the maritime industry. The provisions regulating the maritime education, training, certification and the recruitment and placement of seafarers and ease of registration of ships under the Indian flag will give an impetus to the quality and quantity of Indian seafarers. Consequently, it will boost employment opportunities for Indian seafarers in the national and international market. The benefits will be extended to ancillary sectors connected with the shipping industry in consonance with 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' initiatives of the government.

The draft of the Merchant Shipping Bill, 2020 is issued for seeking the feedback and suggestions from the public. This can be accessed on the link: and suggestions can be sent to by 24.12.2020.

It has been a priority of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi's government to replace all archaic colonial laws with modern and contemporary International laws with active participation of people to enhance transparency in the governance. For the same, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways recently issued two draft Bills for public consultation, namely 'Aids to Navigation Bill 2020' and 'Coastal Shipping Bill 2020' and now this historical 'Draft Merchant Shipping Bill 2020' is being issued, within a short span of time of four months. Moreover, Major Port Authorities Bill 2020 is also under consideration of Rajya Sabha, which has been already passed by Lok Sabha in the last Parliament session. All these Bills are going to generate sweeping waves in the maritime scenario moving India towards a fully developed maritime economy.