Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Second Report


APPENDIX II

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


 
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