POST TIME: 6 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Fitness certificates for vessels to go online
Anisur Rahman Khan

Fitness certificates for vessels to go online

The Department of Shipping (DoS) will issue fitness and survey certificates to vessel owners online to ensure transparency. The government decision to introduce the online system came to curb irregularities and to mitigate the harassment faced by vessel owners while trying to get the certificates from the DoS headquarters.

Recently, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) found a section of corrupt employees at DoS to be involved in irregularities. The ACC even arrested two chief engineers of DoS for allegedly taking bribes from shipping companies.

“We have decided to ensure transparency and corruption free DoS by introducing the online system. Once the new system is in place, the vessel owners would able to submit their applications from their homes without visiting the DoS headquarters,” DoS director general Commodore Syed Ariful Islam told The Independent.

The DoS authorities have completed the preparation to digitize its water vessel certification system, he informed.

According to DoS, shipping minister Shajahan Khan was likely to inaugurate the new certification system on September 12.

At present, vessel owners have to visit the DG shipping office several times to get the certificates. Besides, they have to suffer immensely to get the certificates even after paying huge sums of money to speed up the process.

According to unconfirmed estimates, there may be over 100,000 unregistered boats plying on Bangladesh’s rivers.

DoS chief inspector Shafiqur Rahman said a total of 11,418 inland vessels were registered from 1952 till December 2017. These include 830 passenger launches, 377 passenger boats, 2,612 cargo vessels, 723 goods carrier, 4525 bulkheads, 308 oil tankers, 1164 dredgers, 38 ferries, 119 tugboats, 297 speed boats and 338 barges. Besides, 36 ocean going ships, 83 coasters, 15 passenger ships, 95 tankers and 6,751 fishing trawlers were also registered with the DoS, sources said.

Apart from inland vessel owners, sailors and other people too can apply for the certificates online from anywhere in the world.

“The decision to digitise DoS was taken as part of the government’s Digital Bangladesh initiative. It would help in reducing time and harassment of the vessel owners,” the chief inspector said.

At least 30 days are needed to complete all the formalities to obtain the fitness and survey certificates manually, he said. But the online system now would reduce the process to seven days, he added.