Ships operating in rivers allowed on sea-waters to boost tradePosted by Daily Shipping Times on 19-09-2013 inShareGovernment issued an order that will enable vessels so far restricted to rivers to operate in sea waters along coasts.NEW DELHI: "The Ministry of Shipping has issued an order to facilitate trade using inland waterways and mercantile marine activity along coasts. The Directorate General (DG) of Shipping has issued an order declaring waters inward of the baseline, as per the notification under Maritime Zone Act, as 'Inland Waters'," an official statement said.These orders would enable vessels that are hitherto allowed to operate only in rivers and other inland waters to operate in sea waters within this baseline, it said.The Ministry of External Affairs had earlier under the Maritime Zone Act had notified all the waters within the baseline around the Indian Coast including Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands as 'Internal Waters, which have now been notified as 'Inland Waters' subject to safety conditions prescribed by IWAI and DG Shipping, the statement said. "This is expected to contribute for a greater degree transportation of goods and trade within the country and along the coast line," the statement added.The amended Inland Vessels Act, 1917 along with the Section 3(41) of the Merchant Shipping Act provides the legal frame work for such operations. The statement said such an area where these vessels will be allowed will have to have partially smooth waters with waves of not more than two meters."The order also states that those coastal states seeking extension of Inland waters beyond the base line may carry out relevant analysis through the National Institute of Oceanography," it added.The Coastal states having a Maritime Board are delegated with the authority for registering and monitoring all aspects of safety of vessels based on the model code prescribed by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI).The Coastal States having no maritime boards have to seek delegation of authority from the Directorate General of Shipping to register and monitor all aspects of safety of Inland vessels. The DG Shipping had issued a River-Sea Vessel Notification in August this year, for all vessels on coastal areas in this regard.Inland waterways comprising of rivers, lakes, canals, creeks, backwaters etc extend to about 14,500 km in the country. However, potential of this important mode of transport has not been fully exploited so far.