Definition of maritime laws :
In its counterparts as public law , it widely known as “the law of sea “. It also called Admiralty law. the process of carrying goods through sea, rules concerning protection and maintenance of ships at sea, registration and damage to ships, marine insurance etc. , is covered under maritime laws .
As india is surrounded by water from the three sides , it created nature condition for Marin trade after the water territorial trade started.
Legislations prior to Independence : maritime laws in India were governed under the British government. There are some of the regulations which deal with various aspects of maritime in India.
- Coasting Vessels Act, 1838
- Indian Registration of Ships Act, 1841,
- Admiralty Offences (Colonial) Act, 1849
- Inland Steam Vessels Act, 1917
- Indian Ports Act, 1908
- Control of Shipping Act, 1947
Legislations after independence : after the independence sea laws mostly governed under article 297 of the constitution. And there are different lex on waters, continental shelf, EEZ and other maritime zones.
Some of the acts are there , for maritimes affairs . This are
- The Merchant Shipping Act, 1958
- The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Act, 2017.
- Article 297 of the constitution
Marines crimes , are frequent offenses which have been committing in sea . There are some marine offences mentioned below –
- Maritime Piracy
- Smuggling Exotic plants and animals
- Unauthorized entry
- Illegal Carrying of Weapons and artillery
- Maritime Drug trafficking
- Maritime Human Trafficking
- Discharging in Ocean Waters
- Sailing or fishing in unauthorized areas–
- Tax evasion
Maritime piracy is an illegal act of violence, detention or destruction against a ship , on person or property, for private purposes, by the crew or passengers of a private ship . Piracy also includes inciting and intentionally facilitating such acts of violence, and voluntarily participating in the operation of a pirate ship . Pushiment for piracy is prescribed in anti maritime piracy bill 2019 , that is (i) life imprisonment ; or (ii) death , if the act of piracy is caused or seek to cause death.
Smuggling Exotic plants and animals : For a ship without authorization, its illegal to do Smuggling of exotic plants and animals for wildlife smuggling. This is because wildlife smuggling involves the isolation of plants and animals. When they arrived at the destination, they may not be able to adapt to the new place. Animals may also cause vulnerable diseases in people. And it may also leads to the serious illness or death of animals . To smuggle Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora , is crime in maritime law.
Unauthorized entry : the ship must seek permission from government of that nation , For entry in a nation’s marine boundary . Sailing on that nation’s waters without a permission is a maritime crime and punishable in all countries. And a person who illegally and secretly boards and hides in to the ship, without the consent of ship owner and master, to travel into international waters to reach some other country without any monitory payment and legal documents , is known as stowaway.
Illegal Carrying of Weapons and Artillery : to carry weapons and artillery, throughout the water territory of any country , which is not legally bonded , is a martime offence .Goods which are sensitive in nature can be transported by specific ships only . Bringing in weapons on a ship, is not authorized , it is a punishable offense.
Maritime Drug trafficking : maritime drug trafficking means transportation of illegal drugs produced in this region to global consumer markets through using ships . To sell drug, is illegal in itself and trafficking of it become more severe offence .
Maritime Human Trafficking : maritime Human Trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act , through exporting victim in other country vie ships .
Discharging in Ocean Waters : it refers to the sewage discharge done by the vessels and ships in the water territory of any nation . Marine pollution is a serious issue and almost all countries have strict policies against ships discharging sewage or oil into their coastal waters.
Sailing or fishing in unauthorized areas : it’s an offence to do sailing in an areas of water territory where the sailing or fishing is not allowed .
Tax evasion : ship owners trying to evade taxes through false documentation or incorrect representation of cargo material have been increasing rapidly, posing a threat to maritime security. It’s a white collar crime.