Vessels are faced with a number of navigational problems due to declining draft of fish harbour channel, besides congestion of boats, fishermen said on Thursday. “No it is very difficult for vessels to move smoothly inside the congested and low-depth harbour channel,” they said, adding that there are fears of boats’ collapse during their navigation if draft of the harbour continued to lower.
Movements of fishing vessels also suffer from dockyard activities, they said, suggesting the government to build a new navigational channel to help ease passage of boats leading to fisheries. “The government should finance the new opening of navigational channel at the harbour to separate movement of fishing vessels from those of Pakistan Navy, Maritime Security Agency,” suggested president Native Islanders Fishermen Association (NIFA), Asif Bhatti.
He said the congested harbour with lowering draft has caused difficulties for fishing vessels to navigate at the channel. “There are about 600 boats moving every day at the harbour channel, which create congestion,” he added. The lowering draft of fish harbour is causing accidents of boats, and there are fears the loaded vessels may scuttle during passage for want of sufficient water at the channel to keep them afloat. Officials of Karachi Fish Harbour Authority (KFHA) said the fishermen complaints are justified but dredging of channel is beyond the authority’s financial affordability. “The KFHA, Marine Fisheries Department and Sindh Fisheries Minister have sent fresh requests to Karachi Port Trust (KPT) to help in carrying out dredging of the harbour channel,” they said. They said that the KFHA was waiting for the KPT’s reply whether it is ready to dredge the channel. They said the KFHA has a limited fiscal strength to maintain harbour’s facilities as dredging the channel needs huge finance.