KARACHI: Pakistan Customs has been empowered to refuse clearance of vessel until payment of dues including port dues and other charges and penalties.
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) issued Customs Act, 1969 updated till June 30, 2019 explaining the powers of customs officials regarding refusal to grant permission to any vessel for departure.
Section 55 of the Act explained such authorizations given to the customs authorities.
Section 55: Power to refuse port clearance to vessels or permission for departure to other conveyance.
Sub-Section (1): The appropriate officer may refuse to give port-clearance to a vessel or permission for departure to any other conveyance until-
(a) the provisions of section 53 or section 54, as the case may be, have been complied with;
(b) all station or port dues and other charges and penalties payable in respect of such vessel, or by the owner or master thereof, or in respect of such other conveyance by the owner or person-in-charge thereof, and all taxes, duties and other dues payable in respect of any goods loaded therein, have been duly paid, or their payment secured by such guarantee, or by such deposit at such rate, as such officer directs;
(c) where any export goods have been loaded without payment or securing payment as aforesaid of all taxes, duties and other dues payable in respect thereof or in contravention of any provision of this Act or the rules or of any other law for the time being in force relating to export of goods.
(i) such goods have been unloaded, or
(ii) where the appropriate officer is satisfied that it is not practicable to unload such goods, the person-in-charge or his duly authorized agent has given an undertaking secured by such guarantee or deposit of such amount as the appropriate officer may direct, for bringing back the goods to Pakistan;
(d) the agent, if any, delivers to the appropriate officer a declaration in writing to the effect that he will be liable for any penalty imposed under clause 24 of the Table under sub-section (1) of section 156 and furnishes security for the discharge of the same;
(e) the agent, if any, delivers to the appropriate officer a declaration in writing to the effect that such agent is answerable for the discharge of all claims for damage or short delivery 17[or other dues in connection with discharge and delivery of goods] which may be established by the owner of any goods comprised in the import cargo in respect of such goods.
Sub-Section (2): An agent delivering a declaration under clause (d) of sub-section (1) shall be liable to all penalties which might be imposed on the person-in-charge of such conveyance under clause 24 of the Table under sub-section (1) of section 156 and an agent delivering a declaration under clause (e) of sub-section (1) shall be bound to discharge all claims referred to in such declaration.