India is in the process of developing new sea routes and shipping services connecting various countries, with a view to enhancing regional connectivity from the strategic and trade perspectives, and also to enhance maritime cooperation with neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand.
These services are reviewed and restructured as per the viability study, giving due regard to the availability of cargo for a given port-pair at desired freight levels, transit time and other such considerations which impact the service schedule and profitability, minister of state for shipping Pon Radhakrishan said.
Besides, the minister stated, the government has taken various steps as part of the preventive / mitigating security measures to deal with sea-piracy.
He said the Directorate General of Shipping has issued elaborate guidelines for anti-piracy measures (best management practices or BMP), including safe house / citadel for vessels anti-piracy measures to be implemented on Indian ships.
For security reasons, plying of sailing vessels in waters south or west of the line joining Salala and Male has been banned. Besides, the Indian Navy has been providing escort service to merchant ships in the Gulf of Aden since 2008.
The Navy has also enhanced vigil in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EFZ) and westward up to 65 degree east longitude.
India has actively been participating in the security meeting of the International Maritime Organisation Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) and other international fora.
The Directorate General of Shipping has been sensitising Indian merchant ships, shipping companies and other departments / associations on ways to deal with piracy, and conducting Seafarers Piracy Awareness module / training programme of two days duration for seafarers to provide guidelines in Best Management Practices Version 4 issued by the International Shipping Industry, the minister pointed out.