India has eased norms for the import of ships, the government announced last week.
Import of ships by open general license (OGL) under a bareboat charter-cum-demise method, which is similar to hire-purchase, will not need a technical clearance by the government, but will need an evaluation of the import price, officials said. "The price reasonableness (evaluation) and interest margin on rental payments will be verified by ICICI
," a government spokesperson said, referring to bareboat charters. ICICI is one of India's leading finance firms
. "However, the price reasonableness will be required only if the value of the imported vessel on CIF (cost, insurance and freight) basis is more than 10 million rupees," he added.
New vessels imported under open general license will no longer need technical clearance and price evaluation, but the vessel at the time of registration will be surveyed by principal officer, Mercantile Maritime Department
, and deficiency in the vessel, if any, will have to be removed before registration.
Import of second-hand vessels with a CIF value of less than $230,000, will also not need technical clearances and price evaluation.
The spokesperson said second-hand vessels that do not have a minimum "economic life" of five years will not be allowed to be imported under the guidelines.
He said the government will continue to screen import of some vessels by non-ship-owning companies. "The Ship Acquisition Licensing Committee of the ministry will continue to consider the import of vessels by non-ship-owning companies, which are still in the restricted (import) list for which permission is required from the Ministry of Surface Transport," he said. However, ship-owning companies will be allowed to import such vessels under an automatic approval scheme, subject to prescribed conditions.