Regional News

SAASC rejects cargo handling as source of ‘gas deaths’

KARACHI: The Ship Agents Association & Stevedoring Conference (SAASC) strongly condemned the rumors targeting the soybean cargo, which was being discharged partly at the Karachi Port Trust at Berth No. 10/11 East Wharf.

In a recently issued press release, the association noted that more than 600 laborers worked on the ship, and none of them had been affected. “This cargo has been arriving at the Karachi Port for the past many years, and up till now, not a single incident has occurred or has been reported,” the association said.

When the cargo was being discharged, the wind direction was North East (NE), which means that it was headed towards Manora and not towards the land. “We wish to also point out that the first person who was hospitalized was before the ship commenced discharging.”

The Ship Agents Association and Stevedoring Conference strongly advised to investigate the true nature of such incident considering the ground realities rather than getting involved in rumor-mongering or speculation.

The cargo was used to make edible oil i.e., it was an agricultural commodity and did not have chemicals in it.  “The Plant Protection Department visited the ship on February 18, 2020, with gas detectors to check for any harmful or toxic gases. No gases were detected.”

The association said: “We strongly recommend that this ship should not be shifted, and the cargo should be discharged at the Karachi Port only. We confirm that we, along with a labor force of about 2 to 3000, will stay at the Karachi Port Trust berth during discharging operations. We must have the courage of our convictions.”

-MN report

February 21, 2020

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