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Vizhinjam becomes needed for crew changes given travel bans

INDIA's Port of Vizhinjam has become essential for changes because of global travel restrictions brought about by the Covid scare, reports Chennai Hindu daily's Business Line

12 August 2020 - 19:00

INDIA's Port of Vizhinjam has become essential for changes because of global travel restrictions brought about by the Covid scare, reports Chennai Hindu daily's Business Line.

But there are questions about whether lighthouse dues should apply to ships there for crew changes at outer anchorages in the state of Kerla along the southwest tip of the subcontinent.



The lighthouse dues aren't levied on ships arriving on the outer anchorage of Cochin Port Trust, which has become a favourite stop for crew change ships since April.



The Kerala Government-owned Vizhinjam port, customs authorities are requiring the payment of lighthouse dues on ships calling for crew changes.



The Lighthouse dues are levied on foreign going vessels at INR92 (US$1.22) per TEU on container vessels and at INR8 per tonne on other ships.



Meanwhile, two ship agents in Vizhinjam have settled interim stay orders from the Kerala High Court against the demand for levy of lighthouse dues.



Shipping agent Dowins Resources contested in court that such ships were 'not liable to pay lighthouse dues' as the crew change was done on ships lying outside the port limits of Vizhinjam port and hence the Light House Act 1927 was 'not applicable'.



'Port clearance cannot be given without paying lighthouse dues. Unless the port clears, the ship cannot move out,' said a top official at the Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships.


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