Anti-Maritime Bill introduced in Lok Sabha

On December 10, 2019, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar introduced the Anti-Maritime bill in parliament. The bill was introduced in days after the kidnapping of 18 Indians aboard in Nigeria. It aims at ensuring safety and security of India’s maritime trade and the crew members

Key Features

The bill is framed in accordance with the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea). It provides punishment of death penalty to those involved in piracy at sea. Section 3 of the bill mentions that persons involved in the act of piracy shall be punished with imprisonment and death penalty.

Need for the bill

Piracy has been growing in the Indian Ocean region since 2008. It is especially more in the Gulf of Aden, which is used by more than 2,000 ships a day. The Gulf has seen several attacks from Somalia. The region is important as it is the busiest trade route between Europe, Asia and East Coast of Africa. These incidents affect the west coast of India as well. This is because, several countries jointly and individually are increasing their security in the Gulf of Aden region to protect their ships. This has forced the pirates to shift their operation eastwards and southwards. This affects India greatly and a strict legislation is required.

UNCLOS

The UNCOS or the Laws of the sea was framed at the third UN Conference that was held between 1973 and 1982. As of 2016, 167 countries including the European Union have joined UNCLOS. There is no direct role played by the UN in implementing the UNCLOS. However, organizations like International Whaling Commission, International Maritime Organization and International Seabed Authority have major role in following and implementing the rules.

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