A vessel carrying nearly 1,000 containers, stuffed with Bangladeshi export goods, remained stuck in the mid-sea for days as the Singapore port authority did not permit it for berthing after a crewmember was found Covid-19 positive.
Sources said the container vessel -- MV THORSWIND -- left Chittagong port on September 11 and reached Singapore water territory on September 16. After that a crewmember tested positive for Covid-19.
The Port of Singapore did not let the vessel, operated by COSCO Shipping Lines, take berth and put it under quarantine for 21 days.
Rashid Ali, General Manager of Continental Traders, the local representative of Shanghai-based COSCO Shipping Lines, told the FE on Tuesday that the vessel is yet to get permission for berthing.
"The representative of the vessel's owner is negotiating with the authorities concerned to reduce the quarantine period and seek opportunity for early berthing," he said.
Mr Ali said he was expecting developments in this regard on Wednesday.
According to sources, the vessel was carrying 814 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of containers, mainly apparel and jute goods, destined for Europe and America.
They said the Liberian-flagged vessel is unlikely to get permission for berthing soon, thus the containers will miss boarding designated mother vessels.
A representative of a main line operator in Dhaka told the FE that this is for the first time, any crewmember of a vessel which touched Chittagong port was found Covid-19 positive.
He said since the containers will miss the designated mother vessels and may need weeks to get onboard in other vessels after the quarantine is over, the exporters will incur financial loss due to delay.
"The buyers will demand price waiver of goods as they will reach late," he added.
Chairman of Chittagong Port Authority S M Abul Kalam Azad could not be reached for his comment on port's precautionary measures to stem the spread of Covid-19.