Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The feeder vessel operators have been asked to avoid using of the country’s prime Chittagong port citing safety issues, market operators said.

“Our principals have asked us to anchor ships at the neighbouring ports as the vessels are not well-protected at the Chittagong port while berthing,” Captain Sahed Chowdhury, country director of Seacon, a leading feeder operator was quoted by the Financial Express (FE), a local newspaper, as saying.

The main port segments (jetties 1 to 13) now lack fenders, which remain suspended from the outer part protecting the vessels from damage when they berth at the harbour. The absence of the fenders is causing damage to feeder vessels every day.

Feeder operators said each ship needs between US$ 10,000 and US$ 50,000 for repairing damage that occur during berthing.

They added that many operators are now using tyre-supports to avoid hazard at the jetties.

On March 29, feeder operators at a meeting decided that they would inform the shipping ministry about it as the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) has remained silent on the issue for long.

Some 45 feeder vessels carry 1.3 million containers with nearly 14 per cent annual growth.

BBN/SSR/AD-02Apr11-1:19 am (BST)