The Company of Master Mariners of India (CMMI) is backing new ‘container weight’ safety measures coming into force in 2016 to drive national exports of contained goods.
It comes as the Mumbai based shipping association, which has more than 3,000 master mariners and captains within its membership ,prepares to present a whitepaper to the Indian Government’s Ministry of Shipping on December 21.
The report centers around key amendments to SOLAS (The international Convention for the Safety of Life at Seas) which will make container weight verification a legally binding condition for all vessels from July 1, 2016.
CMMI chairman Captain Philip Mathews said the measures are urgently needed to ensure proper safety of cargo, seafarers and ships sailing around the globe.
“We applaud the International Maritime Organization’s decision to approve cargo weight amendments to SOLAS,” he said. “Essentially, the new measures mean every shipper, including the consigner, exporter or seller of the cargo, will have to verify gross weight of each cargo-container before loading it onto the ship.
“The cargo weight verification process provides a universal stamp of approval. We believe it is a long overdue measure and one which will greatly enhance India’s position in the cargo exports market. It will ensure a level playing field and transparency with all shippers delivering accurate declarations of gross container weights.”
Captain Matthews who recently spoke out at the CMMI conference “Safe Containers – Steering Changes” in Mumbai, said the landmark regulation change will mark a historic date for the global shipping sector.
“It is estimated that about one third of over 130 million cargo containers shipped everyday across the globe have inaccurately declared weights,” he said. “It’s a grave safety concern for the ship, and also a huge issue for the environment. More importantly the risk to human life is severe, casualties may occur and ships could cap-size or sink due to excess, misdeclared or miscalculated weights of the loaded cargo-containers.”
Government of India Director General of Shipping Deepak Shetty said, “The paradigm of container weight verification has been neglected globally for years.
“I am extremely happy that necessary amendments to SOLAS will soon become effective in the interest of the Indian maritime sector. And, I suggest that correctness of weights of the cargo-containers to be loaded onto the ships should certainly be certified by the Legal Metrology.”