Shipping Express, 9th October 2018 : New rules are being introduced for safe and hassle-free movement of ships at Chittagong outer anchorage. That rules are in force from 1st October 2018. Recently, accidents at Chittagong outer anchorage increased with the increase of ships calling Chittagong port. The Port Authority already instructed all the shipping agents to give three days pre arrival notice for any ship with more than 9.50 mtr draft arriving Chittagong outer anchorage. Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) also advised shipping agents to take CPA pilots’ assistance to bring the vessel at designated anchorage. Although the shipping agents are expressing their fear that these new instructions may hamper the image of Chittagong Port and foreign ship owners will impose extra charges for this port. Every year more than three and half thousand ships calling Chittagong Port. Besides Container ship break bulk and tanker ships are also calling Chittagong port. Among these ship with 190 mtr long and 9.50 mtr draft are permitted go along side jetty. Except container ships most of the vessels has to wait at Chittagong outer anchorage either for a free berth or lightening the vessel up to permissible draft. Some times bigger vessels are discharging all their cargo at Chittagong outer anchorage and leaving. Chittagong Port is having an anchorage of seven and a half nautical miles wide and more than hundred ships can be accommodated at a time in three different draft zones i.e. A, B and C Though this practice is going on for years but Chittagong Port Authority has declared to apply this new rule according through a circular no.-25/2018. It is stated there that; the number of ships has increased and the accidents as well. To get rid of all these, Shipping Agents are instructed to inform Port Authority three days before the arrival of ships at outer anchorage having draft more than nine and a half meters. With availability of space at outer anchorage Port Authority will assign position for dropping anchor of those ships. Also, they are advised to take Port pilots for safe arrival of ships at outer anchorage. This rule of Port Authority for outer anchorage is in force from today 1st October,2018. Regarding these matter shipping agents expressed their concern. They said that it will not be wise to declare our own port as a risky port. As per the Shipping agents this may put negative impacts on foreign ship owners may impose increase charter hire rate or import cargo freight. Denying the matter, the Chairman Commodore Zulfiqar Aziz of Chittagong Port Authority said, “The matter is not like that. We are trying to bring the outer anchorage under discipline. Accidents happen due to indiscipline anchor dropping of ships. One collides with another. From now, we will assign the position for ships which will help avoiding unwanted accidents.’’ Regarding taking of port’s pilot Chairman said, “This is not mandatory. If you need you can take otherwise not. Many new captains are bringing ships to the port. They have lack of knowledge about outer anchorage also the experience. These create many problems. If they take help of an experienced pilot then no problem may happen.” Port Chairman also added, “This new rule will bring discipline to the outer anchorage. Work speed will increase.” Commodore Zulfikar Aziz commented, “There is no question of image crisis in the world shipping sector.”
As per CPA, there was a directive also from the ministry based on a collision investigation report recommendations.
Capt Delowar Rahman, General Manager(Operation),Bangladesh Shipping Corporation said “We appreciate CPA steps for enhancing safety of vessels at outer anchorage area specially for deeper draft vessels. Undoubtedly the safety of vessels at outer anchorage
will increase and owners/charterers will feel more comfort to send their vessel to Chittagong. We express our full support to such initiatives to enhance the safety of our vessels and anchorage.