62 ships stranded in Bangladesh port

April 23rd, 2009 - 1:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, April 23 (IANS) Sixty two cargo vessels are stranded at the Chittagong port after a ship sank Monday, blocking the only channel in the estuary leading to the port.
“We are considering a move to open an alternative channel near the location of the sunken coaster (a small ship)… We may make the attempt Thursday as, otherwise, the stranded ships will face big problems hampering the country’s import and export trade,” New Age newspaper quoted a top shipping ministry official as saying.

Chittagong, which is the country’s largest port, is by the river Karnaphuli and faces frequent navigational problems.

A report by the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) says that the largely riverine Bangladesh’s waterway network has been shrinking drastically due to lack of adequate dredging of riverbeds.

The report said failure to remove increased silt from the riverbeds causes negative impact on overall economy.

The waterway routes have reduced to 3,800 km from 5,200 km in winter season and in the rainy season, the waterway network has reduced to around 6,000 km from 8,400 km due to siltation, The Daily Star newspaper said, quoting the report.

BIWTA officials blamed acute shortage of money for dredging, as budgetary allocation was not increased in this regard in the last five years.

“The waterway has gradually become unfit for navigation as it is not being possible to remove silt by dredging as per demand, hampering navigation, irrigation and fisheries,” says the report.

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