Memorandum by the Department of Transport
MERCHANT SHIPPING (LIGHT DUES) REGULATIONS 1997 (S.I. 1997/562)
The Committee asked for a memorandum on the following points:
(1) "The 'rounding' requirement in paragraph
1(d) of Part I of Schedule 2 is excluded for ships (fishing vessels
and tugs) 'with a length of less than 10 meters'. Explain the
purpose and effect of the exclusion, given that fishing vessels
and tugs of less than 10 metres in length are exempt from light
dues (paragraph (4) of Part IV of Schedule 2)."
Tugs and fishing vessels of less than 10 metres in length
are exempt from light dues by virtue of paragraph (4) of Part
IV of Schedule 2. The term "length" is defined in paragraph
1(d) of Part I of Schedule 2. This definition applies to the use
of the term in paragraph 1(1), Part II and paragraph (4), Part
IV. The Department felt that without anything further in the Regulations
it would appear that a tug or fishing vessel which had a length
of just 10 metres would have its length "rounded-up"
to 10 metres thus rendering the vessel liable to dues. This would
be contrary to the desired policy.
The words in paragraph 1(d) highlighted by the Committee
make it clear that such vessels of less than 10 metres, but no
more than nine and a half metres, in length are not liable to
pay light dues.
(2) "Explain why, in a case where (during a
relevant period) light dues have been paid in respect of
a ship which is declared a total loss, paragraph 2 of Part II
of Schedule 2 makes no provision for a reassessment (and where
appropriate a repayment) corresponding to that required in the
case of a liability to pay. "
Paragraph 2 of Part II of Schedule 2 is intended to make
provision for reassessment of liability to pay light dues where
light dues have been paid in respect of a vessel which is a total
loss. In such a case the liability of the vessel is reassessed
in relation to the period prior to the end of the month in which
the total loss occurs and, if appropriate, a repayment made. The
Department feels it is implicit in the wording of paragraph 2
that the relevant General Lighthouse Authority is under an obligation
to repay any sums paid in respect of light dues for which the
vessel is no longer liable.
An example may assist the Committee. A fishing vessel would
be entitled to make a periodical payment of £114, plus £21
for each metre in length in excess of 10 metres, on 1 April in
respect of light dues for the forthcoming six months pursuant
to paragraph 1(b) of Part II. If the vessel was involved in an
accident which rendered it a total loss on the 15 June the vessel's
liability to pay light dues would be reassessed and the liability
of the vessel for the period prior to the end of the month in
which the total loss occurred calculated in accordance with paragraph
1(3) of Part II. The vessel would be reassessed as liable to pay
the three-twelfths of the annual payment in paragraph 1(a) of
Part II. The relevant General Lighthouse Authority would be under
an obligation to repay any sum paid in excess of this amount to
the vessel's owner.
24th March 1997