Parliament passes Marine Aids to Navigation Bill

Indian Parliament law insider

Shivangi Prakash-

The Marine Aids to Navigation Bill, 2021, was passed by Parliament, citing “enormous technical development” in the realm of marine navigation and the need to regulate it.

It will repeal the Lighthouse Act of 1927, a nearly nine-decade-old regulation that governs conventional navigational aids such as lighthouses.

 “Over the period of time, maritime sector has undergone massive change and there have been enormous technological development in the field of marine aids to navigation such as vessel traffic services and diversification of aids to navigation to include technical aids other than lighthouses and lightships”

The Bill covers the entire country of India, including territorial waters, the continental shelf, and the exclusive economic zone.

Aid to navigation is defined as an external equipment, system, or service that is designed and controlled to improve the safe and efficient navigation of individual vessels and vessel traffic.

Ships, boats, sailing vessels, fishing vessels, submersible, semi-submersible, hydrofoils, and any watercraft capable of being employed in the maritime environment are all considered vessels.

The Bill gives the Government the authority to set prices for marine aids to navigation dues.

Every ship arriving at or departing from any port in India will be evaluated and levied these fees. Proceeds thereof shall be credited to the Consolidated Fund of India.

The Government may, however, exempt some vessels from paying these fees entirely or partially. The following vessels are among them:

  • Any Government ship, which is not carrying cargo or passengers for freight or fares, or
  • Any other ship, classes of ships, or ships performing specified voyages.

Any dispute over dues, charges, or costs for marine aids to navigation will be heard and decided by a Civil Court with authority in the location where the controversy arose.

The Central Government can also designate any aid to navigation under its jurisdiction as a “heritage lighthouse” under the Bill.

These lighthouses will be created for educational, cultural, and tourism objectives in addition to their duty as navigational aids.

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