Karachi Fish Harbour Authority (KFHA) is still unable to drive out the abandoned fishing boats which have occupied a huge space at navigational channel to make arrangements for harbour’s dredging, sources said on Monday. The clean-up operation of the KFHA and key fisheries stakeholders had to start on December 24 to make spadework ahead of the possible dredging of navigational channel, but practically nothing came to witness, they said.
Stakeholders had appeared willing to undertake a joint operation to streamline the 0.1 million square meter fish harbour channel for a better navigation of boats, they said. The stakeholders, who have to take part in the cleaning-up of harbour’s channel, are including Fishermen Co-operative Society (FCS), Marine Fisheries Department (MFD), Maritime Security Agency (MSA) and Sindh Trawlers Owners Association (STOFA).
According to the decision of KFHA, the clean-up operation will have to weed out the abandoned and dysfunctional fishing boats from the harbour’s water to loose space for active vessels to move easily. The authority, in this regard, formed a 10-member committee headed by Director Operations KFHA for ensuring the timely launching and result-oriented clean-up drive.
When contacted Director Operations KFHA, Anis Soomro told Business Recorder that the committee had held talks with Maritime Security Agency (MSA) to acquire specialised boats from the agency before begging the clean-up drive. He said: “the MSA has agreed to provide KFHA with the boats,” adding that the authority is now facing a key problem where to situate the boats it has to drive out of the harbour. He said the authority is going to hold another meeting with Karachi Port Trust (KPT) to find space for the abandoned boats.
“It is being keenly observed to drive out the boats when there is high tide to make easy flow of the abandoned vessels off the harbour and stationed them safely,” said Soomro. The fish harbour’s dredging has last been carried out about 20 years ago. Officials said the cleaning up of channel is now badly needed to deepen the channel draft for the smooth navigation of vessels.
Fishing boats continued to face navigational problems because of the low-draft of water at Karachi fish harbour. Karachi Port Trust has completed the survey of the harbour’s navigational channel to deepen the seabed by four meters in line with the global port dictum. The last dredging of the fish harbour was done through EU grant by an Italian firm M/s “Lodigiani SPA” in 1990, costing the then currency unit of “ECU” 12 million, according to the officials.