MUMBAI: It was indeed an important occasion on 29th July, 2018 when the Centre for Maritime Law & Research was inaugurated at the Maharashtra National Law University (MNLU), Mumbai at the hands of Hon’ble Justice K. R. Shriram (Judge, Bombay High Court) in the presence of Hon’ble Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka (Judge, Bombay High Court) and Dr. Malini V. Shankar (IAS), Director General of Shipping, Govt. of India.
In addition a Legal Aid Clinic was also inaugurated by Hon’ble Justice Fakkir Mohammed Ibrahim Kalifulla (Former Judge, Supreme Court of India) who was the Chief Guest at the function.
This was possible only because of the personal and consistent efforts of Director General of Shipping, Dr. Malini V. Shankar (IAS). A Memorandum of Understanding [MoU], for a period of five years has been signed between the Directorate General of Shipping, Govt. of India and Maharashtra National Law University [MNLU], Mumbai.
In her address Dr. Malini V. Shankar, IAS, highlighted very strongly the issues faced by seafarers (the human element) regarding non-payment of wages, repatriation, abandonment, jurisdictions and other concerns from legal, logistical and even psychological perspectives. She also very convincingly pointed out the gaps in Maritime and other laws regarding seafarers. The DG has assured all round support of the Maritime Administration for the seafarers and the shipping fraternity in this venture particularly in mutually agreeable academic events, teaching, training and research, wherever feasible.
The Centre for Maritime Law and Research which will also be a Centre of Excellence aspires to contribute to the Government of India on the matters of shipping and maritime law to deal with the litigations involving shipowners and other stake holders and also to empower the seafarers for their resource enrichment and optimizing their services both at sea and ashore.
It will also be a resource base of trained personnel in maritime and allied legislations - legal experts who are not only well versed with the laws, but also understand the expanse of maritime domain, its dynamics, inter-relationships and the intricacies of the entire maritime supply chain.
Both public institutions and private entities will definitely benefit from their expertise. A good mix of lawyers and practicing professionals, some with sea experience, will enrich the learnings. The Centre will also be a resource for addressing issues that are of concern to the Shipping industry and to the regulator.
Now it is for the seafarers and the shipping fraternity to utilize and also support and augment the efforts of the Maritime Administration.
We, at National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI) wholeheartedly assure our support and are sanguine that this positive step will immensely benefit the entire shipping fraternity in general and the seafarers in particular, said a release.