This article from The Economic Times (India) @http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/News_By_Industry/Transportation/Ships_over_25_years_old_to_be_barred_from_docking_here/articleshow/2261174.cms
makes you wonder about the expected longevity of ships. For instance this 25 year rule would mean that the likes of the QE2 wouldn't be permitted to dock in India!
"Ships over 25 years old to be barred from docking here
7 Aug, 2007, 0416 hrs IST,Nirbhay Kumar & Rajat Guha, TNN
NEW DELHI: The government is charting out guidelines to bar entry of aged overseas ships into Indian coasts. Ships aged 25 years and above may soon be disallowed to dock at Indian coasts.
According to a shipping ministry official, 17,000 ships are overage in the world. The policy is being finalised and would be announced soon. Ships with bad track records and Flags Of Convenience (FoC) like Panama (where ships are granted certification without major checks) won’t be allowed.
“The policy is currently being framed by the Directorate of Shipping. The ships have an average age of 17 years. the government has taken a serious view that ships which become vulnerable after 25 months would not be entertained,” a senior government official said.
According to sources in the government, the aim is to narrow down risks attributed to vulnerable ships on Indian coasts. An expert group of officials from state government, the shipping ministry and surveyors would be formed to check the age of fleet.
“The idea is to bring a threshold age for the ships. While we will target 25-year-plus ships in the beginning, later even 20-year-old ships will be targeted as the average age of a ship is 17 years,” the official said.
However, experts point out that the move of the government may have multi-dimensional impact. KPMG associate director Bivek Anand says, “The impact on shipping companies will be in terms of the need for expediting their fleet renewal/tonnage acquisition plans, since a number of existing vessels may not qualify on the age meter, for touching the indian coast.”
Many shipping companies globally (and in India) register their ships in countries where the regulatory framework governing the operations of ships, is more lenient and/or commercially more advantageous.
The ships are said to be registered under FoC. The nations associated with the FoC include Panama, Liberia, Bermuda, Bahamas and many others. Some of these nations are more liberal on the scrapping age of vessels, thus allowing shipping companies to operate older vessels.
“With the lowering of the allowable age of vessels touching an Indian port, the old vessels operating under an FoC will lose the advantage and, thus, shipping companies will get naturally discouraged to register with an FoC. Thus, the FoCs allowing old vessels to ply will also lose out in terms of their attractiveness for registering a vessel, Mr Anand added."