§ 73. Mr. Buchan
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions his officials have held recently regarding the transitional period for the registration of fishing vessels under the terms of the Merchant Shipping Act 1988; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Portillo
The transitional period is prescribed in the Merchant Shipping (Registration of Fishing Vessels) Regulations which came into force on 1 December 1988. To date, nearly half the 13,000 transfer applications sent out for the new register have been returned. Officials at the registry of shipping and seamen are dealing with queries as fast as they can. Remaining qualified owners who return their applications in good time should be able to transfer their vessels before the end of the transitional period on 31 March.
§ Mrs. Margaret Ewing
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the total amount of revenue accruing to his Department in the last financial year as a result of the levying of light dues on United Kingdom registered fishing vessels; and what was the original estimate.
§ Mr. Portillo
Responsibility for collecting light dues is vested in the general lighthouse authorities. They have so far received about £120,000 in light dues paid for United Kingdom registered fishing vessels for the financial year 1987–88. Income for the year was originally estimated as about £1 million; the authorities are considering what further action to take to recover the outstanding dues.