Digital monitoring of ship movement in port delayed


The ministry of shipping (MoS) has detected irregularities in the implementation of the Vessel Traffic Management Information Systems (VTMIS) project.

These have caused delay in digitally monitoring ship movement in Chittagong port’s water area, sources said.

An intelligence agency of the government also found the irregularities in the project, they added.

Recently, the MoS asked the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) to inform it about what actions were taken after reports from the ministry and the intelligence agency were sent to them.

Officials said the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) made mandatory implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code since 2004 to ensure security in the country’s sea and river ports.

Under the security code, the installation of Automatic Information System (AIS) in all commercial vessels in Chittagong port area was also made mandatory to keep watch on their movement.

To comply with the directives regarding ISPS code implementation, the CPA in 2011 started executing the VTMIS project at a cost of Tk 440 million. The project was scheduled to be completed by March, 2013.

However, the project could not be completed till now despite time extension on several occasions.

Officials said the MoS carried out an investigation to find out reasons behind the delay in the project implementation. During the investigation, the ministry officials found various irregularities.

The investigators found that no engineer was employed to monitor the project and the watch tower was set up on an old infrastructure.

The equipments were collected from a Singaporean company instead of the one mentioned in the work order of the project.

They also found that a controversial and corrupt person was appointed as director of the project.

Besides, a local company with bad reputation was appointed on behalf of the foreign contractor to implement a part of the work. The owner of the company was also declared persona non grata in all naval bases and ships in October, 2012.

Officials said until December 2013, only the infrastructural works were completed. But the Chinese engineers left the country without installing the equipments. The local agent informed the ministry officials that the remaining works would be completed once the Chinese engineers returned.

The MoS investigation team opined that the AIS equipments were installed in all the vessels since 2004 but no steps were taken by the port authority for keeping automatic watch on vessels.

They said the goal of the project may not be attained once the project is completed in future because of low capacity and effectiveness of the equipments.

CPA Chairman Nizamuddin Ahmed could not be reached for a comment despite several attempts.

Source from : Financial Express