Following a recent incident where armed guards on board a tanker off the Indian Coast mistakenly fired at a fishing vessel, the Indian Director General of Shipping has published Merchant Shipping Notice No. 7 of 2012 “Navigation off the Indian coast – transgressing of fishing nets – mistaking fishing boats with pirate skiffs”.
The Notice contains general guidance on fishing activities off the Indian coast, including a warning that fishing vessels may head towards ships they believe may be approaching their nets in an effort to alert the bridge watchkeeping officer.
In addition, vessels with armed guards are urged to report their presence to the Indian Navy / Indian Coastguard when within India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). India’s EEZ currently extends 200 nautical miles from the coast and may be extended in due course subject to a decision by the United Nations.
Members are advised to forward the information contained in the Merchant Shipping Notice to their vessels if there is a possibility that they may enter India’s EEZ with armed guards on board.
Members requiring further guidance should contact the Loss Prevention department.