KARACHI, Dec 28: The International Maritime Organization (IMO) will assist Pakistan in upgrading the Pakistan Marine Academy to the level of university, officials said on Tuesday.
In this connection the IMO will soon send a "needs assessment mission" of experts to Pakistan which will evaluate needs of the proposed maritime university. The understanding was reached between Ports and Shipping Minister Babar Khan Ghouri and IMO Secretary General E.E. Mitropoulos in a meeting held recently at the IMO headquarters in London.
The minister, who was accompanied by Ports and Shipping Director General Captain Anwar Shah, also discussed issues relating to the resolution of Tasman Spirit, which was grounded near the Karachi Port's approach channel a year ago and caused environmental disaster.
The minister briefed the IMO secretary-general about negotiations for the resolution of Tasman Spirit issue. He said Pakistan was negotiating with the insurers of Tasman Spirit for giving compensation to the victims of the disaster.
Mr Ghouri drew the attention of the IMO secretary-general towards the plight of Pakistani seafarers caused by stringent visa regime imposed by the Western countries after the 9/11 incident.
"This situation has caused a lot of hardship for Pakistani seafarers in getting gainful employment. After the 9/11 it has become more important that Pakistan should be given more opening in employment opportunities," the minister added.
Mr Mitropoulos promised to take up the visa issue with the US homeland security secretary. On a request of the minister, the IMO secretary-general agreed to appoint a member from Pakistan to the Board of Governors of World Maritime University, Sweden.
The IMO secretary-general also appreciated President Pervez Musharraf's address to the International Institute for Strategic Studies during his recent visit to London.
Mr Mitropoulos praised the contribution of Pakistan towards the work of IMO. He noted that Pakistan had implemented the ISPS Code well before the cut-off date, which was a sign of commitment and hard work of the ministry of ports and shipping.
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