A further 208 closed circuit TV (CCTV) cameras are being installed at Chittagong Port to step-up security there.
Installation of the cameras started in January this year, and they will be set-up in the yards of the port in April.
SM Masudul Islam, deputy director (security) of Chittagong Port said that at present there are 313 CCTV cameras in the port, and 208 more are being installed.
"The jetty, yard, handover yard and other important parts of the port will soon be covered by the cameras," he said.
Experts from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology surveyed the port in 2014, and recommended setting up 800 cameras there so that the entire installation is covered.
Accordingly, 279 more cameras have to be installed to completely cover Chittagong Port. However, only 208 are being installed now.
Chittagong Port was given a number of conditions that have to be met to develop overall security in accordance with the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.
A US team, during an inspection of Chittagong Port on September 11 and 12, 2017, made 16 recommendations.
The major recommendations were: The entire port area has to be covered by CCTV cameras; goods should not be unloaded inside the port, instead it should be done elsewhere; the movement of people inside the port should be strictly controlled.
Later, a team from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) inspected the port on August 25, 2019 to check for overall security.
The team comprised of Lt Stanley Tarrant, Lt Commander Christina Jones and Lt Commander Wade Thomson of the US Coast Guard.
The IMO team expressed satisfaction with security at the Port, but recommended enhancing certain aspects of it.
As a protected area, Chittagong Port is not under full CCTV camera surveillance, so unfortunate incidents such as theft of goods do occur at times. A syndicate steals imported goods from the containers.
Spare parts of vehicles kept in the port shed and imported raw material for the readymade garments industry have also been stolen.
Sarwar Alam Khan, owner of a C&F agency named Warisha Enterprise, alleged that in October last year, spare parts of generators worth Tk45 lakh that were imported from China were stolen from Chittagong Port. His firm was in-charge of taking delivery of the consignment. A written complaint was filed at Chittagong Port over the theft, but to no avail.
In such a context, a meeting of the parliamentary standing committee on the shipping ministry held at Chittagong Port Bhaban on January 19 this year discussed the issue of installing CCTV cameras at the port.
Rafiqul Islam, chairman of the standing committee on the shipping ministry told the meeting that CCTV cameras will be set up to cover the entire port area to prevent theft from the port's sheds.
"If necessary, importers can also check the CCTV footage from the security office," he said.
Omar Faruque, the secretary of the Chittagong Port Authority, said the number of CCTV cameras will also increase with the increase of installations at Chittagong Port.
"Damaged cameras will be replaced," he said, adding that there was no menace of foreign sailor syndicates in the port.