A ship full of hazardous materials arrived on Wednesday in the coastal town of Gadani located in Balochistan’s Lasbela district despite repeated Interpol warnings.
The Deputy Commissioner of Lasbela has taken notice and ordered concerned authorities to conduct an inquiry into how a ship filled with hazardous materials can be docked at Gadani Shipbreaking Yard. According to sources familiar with the matter, it has been brought to the yard for shipbreaking.
The Gadani Shipbreaking Yard is the third largest ship-breaking yard in the world and consists of 132 ship-breaking plots.
Authorities familiar with the matter said the Interpol had asked Pakistani authorities including the Federal Investigation Agency on April 22 to stop the ship from entering Pakistani waters as it contained 1,500 tons of highly dangerous mercury sludge. The ship was not allowed to enter the waters of Bangladesh and India due to the same reason.
Interpol’s letter was addressed to the Ministry of Climate Change, Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Pakistan Maritime Security Agency, Balochistan Environmental Protection Agency (BEPA) and customs authorities but none took action.
According to the ship owners, the ship previously known as FSO Radent was renamed in Mumbai before reaching Karachi on April 21.
The ship was able to enter Pakistani waters and docked at Gadani on April 30 with the alleged connivance of concerned authorities.
Sources said BEPA officials allowed the ship to be docked without paying heed to the report of concerned agencies.
A report of the incident will be submitted to Lasbela DC within 48 hours after which the future course of action in this regard will be decided.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2021.