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Port facilities compliant | The Daily Star

The Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) is very confident about the port facilities being compliant with international regulations ahead of a scheduled annual visit by the US Coast Guard this week despite its ongoing struggle to handle a number of abandoned import containers with dangerous cargo.

Under its International Port Security (ISP) programme, a four-member delegation of the US Coast Guard will arrive today and begin a three-day visit to the country’s premier seaport from Monday.

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The delegation will inspect if security measures in place at the port comply with the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, sources said.

The team will meet the director general of the Department of Shipping in Dhaka today.

During the three-day visit, the team will meet CPA officials and also visit different port facilities, several private inland container depots (ICDs) and the sole state-owned oil refinery, Eastern Refinery Limited.

After their visit, the team will submit its annual audit report about the port’s security compliance to the US Coast Guard head office.

The US Coast Guard’s IPS programme was established in 2003 to reinforce implementation of the ISPS Code aimed at reducing risks to US ports, ships, and the global maritime transport system.

The CPA started improving its security systems since July 1, 2004 in compliance with the ISPS Code ratified by the International Maritime Organisation.

During the US Coast Guard’s last visit in 2019, the team gave some recommendations for improving security at Chattogram port, such as installing better security systems at entry and exit points and ensuring scanning of export containers.

Rear Admiral M Shahjahan, chairman of the CPA, claimed most of the requirements have already been implemented while the purchase of scanners for export containers is underway.

After a fire devasted a private ICD on June 4, the CPA met with various stakeholders, including shipping agents, feeder vessel operators and freight forwarders, and issued several directions to comply with International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

The directions include prohibiting the use of damaged or partly damaged containers and releasing dangerous import cargoes as soon as possible.

Citing the steps taken to ensure compliance under ISPS Code, Shahjahan said he is fully confident that the US Coast Guard team will be satisfied with the port’s security measures.

“Their (the delegation’s) remark is important for the country’s foreign trade,” he added.

Asked why the port is yet to install scanners for export containers, Shahjahan said the tender procedure has already started to procure two scanners.

A senior official of the CPA, on condition of anonymity, said they have implemented all the recommendations as per their responsibility.

However, some requirements which are linked with the customs authority are yet to be fully implemented.

Since the customs authority delayed the purchase of scanners, the CPA had to initiated the purchase from its own funds to comply with the requirements, he added.

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