Civil Defence, Karachi Building Control Authority, Environmental Protection Agency and Sindh Labour Department are set to inspect the seafood processing plants at the fish harbour, officials said on Saturday. Karachi Fish Harbour Authority (KFHA) has asked the processing plants to comply with the safety rules to avoid any untoward incident like the recent factory blaze in the city.
During the meeting of the KFHA board of directors, the members discussed the last vessel-capsizing incident near the Phiti Creek off Ibrahim Haideri coast on September 9, this year. The KFHA finally set a standard for the voyaging boats to limit the crew number and comply with safety codes during fishing. The KFHA asked the boat owners to follow the new rules to scale down incidents at sea, officials said.
According to the reports, the boat overturned after it lost balance because of the overloaded number of crew on the rough sea. The findings suggest that the boat was smaller in size as compared to the crew that was aboard, which were 37. The probe also found that the capsized boat had no life jackets for the crew. The KFHA board of directors specified new rules for fishing trawlers to limit the number of crew aboard according to their size.
At present different kind of fishing boats including trawlers and gill-netters, between 40 feet and 55 feet in size, carry from 20 to 27 crewmembers. Hora of 20 to 40 feet size voyages with maximum 25 crewmembers, Dhonda of 20- to 30 feet with a maximum 10, and Thukri of 20 to 30 feet with a maximum of 10 crewmembers on each trip. The board recommends the authority to limit the crew number for such boats. It suggests maximum 20 crewmembers for trawlers, gill-netters and Hora boats. For Dhonda and Thukri, the number of crewmembers is requested to be restricted to 10.
The Board of Directors of KFHA held their 18th meeting, which Sindh Fisheries Minister, Zahid Ali Bhurgari chaired. Managing Director KFHA, Abdul Ghani Jokhio briefed the participants of the meeting about the agenda. The Board decided to make the life jacket provision mandatory for all boats voyaging on off-coast fishing. It said that no boats would be allowed to go fishing without life jackets for the crew. It asked the boat owners to purchase five plastic crates from the KFHA.