ISLAMABAD: Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi has admitted that in recent years, due to strict visa policies Pakistani seamen are facing difficulties in obtaining visas to join vessels at different foreign ports.
He stated this during the reply of a question asked by Member National Assembly Abdul Shakoor Shad in the National Assembly meeting.
He informed the Parliament that there has been a gradual decline in the number of countries which allowed Pakistani seafarers to travel on “OK to Board” to join vessels. The matter is beyond the ambit of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs. It relates to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Interior and they may be asked to pursue the matter.
He briefed the Parliament that Ministry of Information Technology has been approached to conduct feasibility study for establishing a modern computer section in Government Shipping Office, Karachi for online verification of Seamen Service Book (SSB).
Ministry of Information Technology has approved a team to visit the subordinate facility and office of Ministry of Maritime Affairs, for the purpose. Action in this regard will be taken in the light of said feasibility study.