A team of United States Coast Guard (USCG) is set to visit the Chattogram Port to scrutinise the compliance of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code after the devastating fire at Sitakunda's BM Container Depot that left 48 dead and hundreds injured.
A four-member US coast guard team will visit the Chattogram port on 21 and 22 June, and will also inspect inland container depots (ICDs) under the port facilities.
The delegation is scheduled to meet the Port Facility Security Officers of five companies – Summit Allies Port Limited, South Eastern Tank Terminal Limited, Premier LP Gas Ltd, Meghna Oil Company Ltd and Eastern Refinery Ltd.
On 16 June the Director of Chattogram Port wrote to the five companies informing them of the USCG delegation's visit under the ISPS programme.
Secretary of Chattogram Port Authority Omar Faruk said a firefighting exercise has already been carried out at the port jetty centring the visit.
Before the ISPS team's visit, the Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) held a meeting with representatives of all stakeholders on 13 June. The port authority gave various instructions for strict adherence to domestic and international policies on transportation and storing of dangerous cargo.
The CPA has asked importers to get their hazardous chemicals released from the port within 72 hours of arrival - one of the measures the authorities have taken to ensure safe handling of dangerous goods or DG Cargo to prevent any kind of accident.
It also made a set of 17 recommendations including building separate sheds equipped with advanced technology for hazardous goods and bringing all the DG cargo yards under 24-hour CCTV surveillance.
The CPA came up with the steps as part of precautionary measures to save the crucial seaport from any feared disaster, following the deadly BM Depot container incident earlier this month.
Bangladesh Shipping Agents Association (BSAA) issued a letter to 500 shipping agents on 16 June requesting to follow all export-import policies in place.
Chattogram Port Authority has also asked the depot owners to stay up to date on compliance.
Ruhul Amin Sikder, secretary-general of the Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association (Bicda), an organisation of ICD owners, said private depots follow the ISPS compliance.
Earlier the ISPS team visited Chattogram port six times. The last visit was in August 2019. During the inspection, the ISPS team gave various instructions including bringing the port area under CCTV cameras, removing the goods inside the port without unloading them, and establishing traffic control inside the port.