Maritime & Admirality Law in India

Maritime & Admirality Law

Maritime & Admirality Law- India

Often the two terms ‘maritime’ & ‘admiralty’ is used interchangeably. However, the case was earlier not the same as the term ‘admiralty’ was used to refer judicial courts in English and American colonies having jurisdiction over all contracts and torts of the sea, including injuries and offences on all waters extending to sea. On the other hand, the term ‘maritime’ was used to expand the realm of sea laws so as to address and correct the hazardous traveling and working conditions in the offshore commercial undertakings. Now the two terms connotes the same meaning.

India has been dealing with sea trade within and beyond the confine of the country since ancient times. During the colonial times many Statues were established to regulate trading business as well as other non-trading practices that goes on via sea, such as Admiralty Offences (Colonial) Act, 1849, the Inland Steam-vessels Act, 1917; the Coasting Vessels Act, 1838; the Indian Registration of Ships Act, 1841; the Indian Registration of Ships Act (1841) Amendment Act, 1850; the Indian Ports Act, 1908; the Indian Merchant Shipping Act, 1923; the Merchant Seamen (Litigation) Act, 1946; the Control of Shipping Act, 1947; the Merchant Shipping Laws (Extension to Acceding States and Amendment) Act, 1949, the Territorial Waters Jurisdiction Act, 1878, etc. Today, whatever ‘laws of the sea’ prevails in India has most of its influence from the Statues introduced by English legislations.

Today India has The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Act, 2017 which came into force on 1st April, 2018, repealing the various British laws that were governing maritime relations and claims in India.

The Admiralty Act seeks to consolidate the existing laws relating to admiralty jurisdiction, admiralty proceedings on maritime claims, maritime lien, arrest, detention, sale of vessels and other connected matters. 

Thus, Maritime & Admirality Law is another name for domestic maritime law and it covers the maritime questions and offences and the Admiralty Act, 2017 contains 18 Sections and is divided into 04 Chapters.

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