Varun in dock

Mar 14 2014

LPG carrier and tanker manager Varun Shipping was believed to have lost its license to operate ships under the Indian flag.

This comes after the company allegedly failed to carry out a mandatory drydocking for safety surveys and pay wage arrears to its crew, reports from India said.

Last week, the Indian directorate general of shipping (DG Shipping) reportedly withdrew Varun Shipping’s document of compliance—the first instance of the maritime regulator cancelling an Indian shipping company’s operating license, it was claimed.

“I am directed to notify you that the Document of Compliance (DoC) issued to Varun Shipping on 14th December, 2012 is null and void since 4th March, 2014 and that the vessels under your ownership/management are liable to be rendered ‘unseaworthy’…,” Ajithkumar Sukumaran, deputy chief surveyor and senior deputy director general of shipping (technical), wrote in a 12th March notice to Varun Shipping, reported the local newswire Shipping Tribune, quoting Live Mint, who claimed to have seen a copy of the statement.

However, this cancellation will only affect Varun Shipping’s Indian-registered ships over which DG Shipping has jurisdiction.

Sukumaran reportedly said in the notice that statutory surveys and certifications for Varun’s Indian-registered ships were overdue for several months, making them unsafe. He asked the company to “lay-up all the vessels, immediately, at safe locations with requisite operational staff on board…”

An immediate fallout of a DoC suspension, or withdrawal, is that the ships will lose insurance cover, said a Mumbai-based shipping consultant, who declined to be named, talking with Live Mint.

Mumbai-listed Varun Shipping has a fleet of 18 ships comprising 10 LPG carriers, three crude oil tankers and five AHTS.

Of these, six LPG carriers and two AHTS are registered in India. Of the other four LPG vessels, one each is registered in Singapore, Cyprus, Indonesia and Marshall Islands; three crude tankers are registered in Singapore and three AHTS in Cyprus.

In October, DG Shipping had asked Varun Shipping asking why its DoC should not be suspended for not complying with the rules and regulations under India’s maritime law. Varun Shipping was also asked to produce a financial package to meet its backlog of crew wages and drydocking commitments.

Varun reportedly said that it was trying to sort out its problems and would continue trading. 

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