Maritime Affairs Ministry sleeping on the sensitive issues

The Ministry of Maritime Affairs Islamabad is sleeping on the vital issues of appointment of fresh and eligible officials for sensitive posts dealing with trade and daily control of ports and shipping matters all over the country.

It has addressed a letter on 8 August, 2019 to Director General; Ports & Shipping Wing Karachi by referring his letter dated 10 December, 2018 on the subject of “Extension of contract of five (05) officers on technical posts (MP-II & MP-III) in Directorate General, Ports & Shipping Wing Karachi and Mercantile Marine Department (MMD), Karachi.”

Through this letter Capt. Muhammad Ayub Choudary Director (P&S) informed that the competent authority has directed that the incumbents Aslam Shaheen, Principle Officer and Muhammad Rashid Anwar, Deputy Chief Nautical Surveyor, Ports and Shipping Wing may be directed to relinquish the charge of their posts with immediate effect as they have attained the age of 65 years. Further to note that the case for extension in respect of Wamiq Abrar Siddiqui, Chief Engineer & Ship Surveyor, MP-II, P&S Wing, Kamal Ahmed, Engineer & Ship Surveyor, MMD, Karachi (MP-III) and Syed Ali Zafar, Engineer & Ship Surveyor, MMD (MP-III) are being sent to Finance Division for their consideration. Furthermore, DG, Ports and Shipping Wing is requested to initiate the process for fresh recruitment against the vacant positions in MP Scales, at the earliest, the letter concluded.

The above letter explains the facts related to Ministry of Maritime Affairs (MoMA) that is known to everyone in shipping sector wherein no merit at any level but personal likeness and dislikeness prevails only. Mahmood Molvi; PTI General Secretary Sindh and financer has been appointed board member of PQA whereas he is also Advisor on Shipping to PM. He is a businessman (shipping and trading) having vested interests in PQA, KPT and PNSC.

On the other hand, Syed Ali Haider Zaidi Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs was busy in a flop campaign of cleaning Karachi instead of concentrating on the complicated issues of his own ministry.

According to informed sources the Mercantile Marine Department (MMD) has a long list of objectives, fulfillment of its statutory role & International obligations. Its functions included:

Registration of Ships and Crafts as per Merchant Shipping Ordinance. Statutory surveys/ inspections & issuance of certificates to Merchant Ships, Fishing vessels and Harbor crafts. Issuance of NOC for port clearance to all ships sailing out of Pakistani Ports. Inspections pertaining to Port State Control of Foreign ships conforming to International Standards and detention of un-Sea worthy ships. Examination and approval of plans for loading dangerous cargoes as per IMDG Code and Compliance inspection thereof. Circulation of navigational warnings to Shipping companies/Agents. Examination and issuance of Certificate of Competency to Inland Masters/Engineers, Drivers and Serangs under IMPV Act and to technical personnel as per Induction Rule issued by DG (P&S). Eye test for various categories & issuance of prerequisite certificates for Certificate of Competency of Deck & Engine department. Supervision of new construction/major repairs of ships, country crafts, barges, launches etc. Installation and maintenance of Navigational Aids on the coast of Pakistan (other than Port limits).

Following Eight Light Houses on the Coast of Pakistan are operating under Mercantile Marine Department. Jiwani, Gawadar, Pasni, Astola Island, Ormara, Cape Monze, Turshian and Kajhar Creek. Performance of Magisterial Work under Merchant Shipping Ordinance, Coasting Vessels Act, IMPV Act, Port Act, KPT Act and PQA Act (relevant portion only). Preliminary Inquiries into shipping casualties as per Merchant Shipping Ordinance. Collection of applications, fee and other relevant documents for submission to DG (P&S) relevant sections i.e. applications for Certificate of Competency Examinations (Nautical and Engineering), approval of plans for new constructions, exemptions, approval of SOPEP and Cargo manual and approval of workshop and service stations etc.

To perform all the above-referred functions there are usually six officers appointed in MMD including three for Deck side and three for Engine side. There is a chief nautical surveyor, principal examiner and principal officer on Deck side. Out of three there is only one officer working. On Engine side too only one officer Wamiq is working but his salary was not paid since many months.  After the issuance of 8August 2019 termination letter by the Ministry there is only one officer left for performing all the above-said functions. In these circumstances if any untoward incident happens who would be responsible?

Informed sources said that all contract based officers have been removed without appointing any reliever on their posts. No any advertisement was placed in newspapers for selection of fresh officers. How and when this process would be done? Till then how these important functions would be run by a single person? These are the vital questions being asked.

Capt Qasim Saeed was handling all KDLB & MMD documentations, surveys and Exams class 1 2 3 & 4. Then conducting surveys on ship and Exams written + orals etc. Except him all other contract based were suspended due to the reason of superannuation. This was causing delay in exams, orals, COC delay and simple EDH and watch keeping exams.

Wamiq Abrar is the only examiner of Engine for all classes. MMD staff told that Javaid has gone too and all eye sight and EDH exams have been suspended till further order. Wamiq Abrar Siddiqui had just verbal words from DG to continue exam. He is on contract basis, but his contract is not extended. He had made 3 attempts just on verbal orders.

The affected people had registered complaint many times on PM portal, but at the end it is being closed by the status of partial relief without even a single measure taken. They disclosed that they had intimated the Prime Minister. It was the 4th time complaint being forwarded to resolve the issue to involve him to solve it; otherwise complaint will again be closed by just showing a partial relief.

The complainants further stated that Ex-chief Engineer and ship surveyor Wamiq Abrar Siddiqui refused to take examination that is going to be held in September 2019. They added that by giving extension, will continue the examination process as it was going before, will prove a partial relief for aspirants, who are appearing in exam. Many aspirants who are appearing in competency exam for engineer officer (class-1,2,4) in Pakistan are on hold due to suspended process of examination. It is requested that prompt measures may be adopted to obviate the delay in filling up the post of CESS on permanent basis & if there is some procedural delay then Outgoing Chief examiner Wamiq Abrar Siddiqui may be allowed officially to continue as examiner which can be regularized later on.

Informed sources disclosed that Kamal and Ali Zafar were already appointed on contract basis after retirement on obtaining age of superannuation from PNSC. Ministry of Maritime Affairs (MoMA) is habitual in violating the rules and court judgments against appointments on contract basis after superannuation. In PNSC two directors, Capt. Muhammad Shakil and Tariq Majeed are continuing after the age of superannuation and one General Manager from Commercial has been granted one year extension after 65 years of age by Secretary MoMA Rizwan Ahmed for political and ethnic connections and influence.

They said that Secretary MoMA being servant of state is responsible to address the situation but he has been grossly failed along with Minister. Despite publication of various news items and complaints Secretary MoMA deliberately and intentionally was not addressing the situation that is making the seafarers life worst. Rizwan Ahmed was hiding himself behind board decisions where he himself is still chairman of board. This is the greatest joke as chairman of board with all the authority is/ will be blaming board for any wrong decisions

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