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Ali Zaidi asks Secretary Ports and Shipping to check safety protocols at ports in wake of Beirut blasts

  • Minister says all safety protocols should be undertaken to avoid occurrence of any untoward incident
Updated 05 Aug 2020

(Karachi) In wake of the deadly blast that destroyed Beirut's port area claiming lives of 100 people and injuring 4,000, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi has written a letter to Ports and Shipping secretary to check security and safety protocols at ports across the country.

Talking to Business Recorder on Wednesday, Zaidi said he had asked the Ports and Shipping Ministry to ensure that all safety protocols are undertaken to avoid occurrence of any untoward incident. He said the two major ports of the country, namely KPT and Port Qasim, have their own security forces that secure the respective ports. The two ports, he said, get bulk of the sensitive chemical and other shipments, which are handled responsibly.

Gawadar port, according to Zaidi, is not seeing a lot of activity yet.

Regarding the poisonous gas leak in Keamari area in February this year, he maintained that the gas did not leak from the Karachi Port Trust (KPT). He denied any leakage of chemicals or gases inside the KPT port area and from any berthed vessel or ship.

He said that as per the investigations carried out by Ministry of Maritime Affairs (MOMA), the toxic gas leak came from underground sewage systems that come under the responsibility of the Sindh government. He clarified that as precaution, all soy shipments were removed from KPT to Port Qasim where there was no untoward incident - proving that soy containers were not the cause of gas leak.

Earlier, 14 people died while more than 300 were affected due to toxic gas leak at Karachi's Keamari area. The citizens of the metropolis were left baffled over the incident. Later, the government ordered a forensic investigation into the matter.

In its detailed report, the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) claimed that the blood and urine samples of patients from Keamari had no traces of common industrial toxic elements.

Chairman KPT Rear Admiral (retd) Jamil Akhtar also held a news conference and said neither any oil vessel nor any facility at the port could be blamed for the poisonous gas leakage.

Police also registered an FIR No143/20 under sections 322, 284 and 337-A against unidentified persons. The case was registered at the Jackson Police Station on behalf of the State.