Fri, Mar 27, 2009 - Page 4 News List

MOTC approves proposal tightening boat inspections

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) has approved a draft amendment to the Shipping Act (船舶法) to update regulations covering yacht inspections and sales of shipping firm shares to foreign investors.

The act has not been amended since 1974.

The act currently bars overseas investors from holding more than one-third of the capital of a shipping firm operating domestic sea lines. The amendment would allow overseas investors to own half of the capital of such firms.

This could open the door for more Chinese investment.

The definition of overseas investors in the act does not include Chinese, who are regulated by the Act Governing Relations Between Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例), Department of Aviation and Navigation Director Yin Cheng-pong (尹承蓬) said.

Under the amendment, yachts that are less than 24m in length and or those equipped to carry a maximum of 12 passengers must be inspected annually by certified organizations, in addition to the comprehensive inspection that is made before the boat is handed over to the owners.

Owners would have to provide copies of the inspection reports to the port bureau where they register their yachts.

Owners, however, would not have to have comprehensive inspections of their boats every five years.

The nation currently has about 1,400 registered yachts, and a majority of them would fall under this category.

Under the amendment, boats longer than 24m or those equipped to carry 12 or more passengers, including club yachts, would have to be inspected every two-and-a-half years.

Yachts that have been in operation for more than 10 years would have to be inspected annually.

MOTC proposal

• The Shipping Act has not been amended since 1974.

• Yachts would face more inspections, while overseas investors could buy more shares in shipping firms.

• Fines will also be increased.

The amendment also sets stricter penalties for overloading. Violators would face fines ranging fined from NT$15,000 to NT$150,000, up from NT$3,000 to NT$30,000.

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