7 years ago

JICA sees SPM pipeline as major obstacle to Matarbari seaport

Plying of vessels will be difficult


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The pipeline of single point mooring (SPM) will emerge as a major obstacle to the main channel of the proposed seaport in Matarbari area, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has informed the government.

The approved map of SPM shows that the pipeline will crisscross the main channel of the seaport.

The pipeline will create barriers to plying of commercial ships and vessel movement on domestic routes, conservation of fishing zone, implementation of various development activities planned by Chittagong port, and expansion of port area, officials said.

JICA has been carrying out a feasibility study on a seaport in Matarbari area. On several occasions, it requested the authority not to build the pipeline of SPM beneath the main channel of the port.

The Ministry of Shipping (MoS) last week reminded the energy division not to take up any development project in Matarbari area without prior permission from the ministry.

In October last, the ministry in another letter informed the energy division about arising of possible complications if the SPM is built in that particular area.

According to officials, JICA has already carried out a survey, and fielded two fact-finding missions on the construction of the proposed seaport which is supposed to be deep-sea port in nature.

The Japanese agency will field an appraisal mission this December on the port development project.

The preliminary survey, according to MoS officials, found potential of building a deep-sea port in Matarbari area having as much as 18-metre draft.

The country's two seaports in Chittagong and Mongla can not give berthing of vessels, not higher than nine metres, due to shallow draft of water.
Building a deep-sea port has now become essential for Bangladesh to handle growing export-import trade, officials noted.

A senior MoS official told the FE that they have requested the energy division twice to settle the issue, but yet to receive response.

Despite frequent attempts over phone, energy division secretary Nazimuddin Chowdhury could not be reached for his comments.

In late October, Bangladesh signed a US$ 550.40 million framework agreement with China to implement the SPM project aiming at ensuring the country's energy security.

Once implemented, the project oil will be unloaded through the pipeline from the vessels floating in the deep sea area. The unloading time will be reduced to 48 hours from 12 days, according to officials. This SPM will also help cut system loss, saving millions of dollar for the country.

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