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Marine dept may collect light dues

February 05, 2005

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KARACHI, Feb 4: The government is planning to make necessary amendments in the Lighthouses Act 1927 so that light dues are collected by the Mercantile Marine Department (MMD) instead of Customs.

There are eight lighthouses around the country's ports, including one at Manora, which is looked after by the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and collects dues from ships reporting at the port.

At present the dues are being collected by the Customs whereas the MMD takes responsibility of maintenance of lighthouses. Officials said that an amount Rs3 per ton was being charged as light dues and annual collection came to around Rs500 million.

Ministry of ports and shipping secretary Fazalur Rehman during his visit to the Mercantile Marine Department and shipping office advised the authorities to make necessary amendments in the Lighthouses Act 1927.

The secretary also asked the MMD to play its role in pollution prevention measures and impose heavy charges on ships violating the law. While noting a decrease in the revenue earned by the MMD, the secretary emphasized that rates and charges of surveys and services might be enhanced to generate more revenue.

Accompanied by director general, Ports and Shipping, and KPT acting chairman Captain Anwar Shah, the secretary disclosed that sub-offices of the MMD at the Port Qasim and the Gwadar Port would be opened soon to facilitate trade.

Razalur Rehman also visited the shipping office where he was briefed by Shipping Master Captain Nasim Tariq about the performance of the shipping office. The secretary emphasized the need for issuance of seafarer's identification document and ratification of the ILO Convention 185 of 2003 at the earliest. So far only three Latin American countries have ratified the convention.

Matters pertaining to the up gradation of Pakistan Marine Academy to the level of a university were also discussed by the special committee here on Thursday. Members of the Pakistan Marine Academy and the shipping industry, and educationists from the NED and Karachi University participated in the deliberation.