If their demands are not met by February 15, all ships will stop operating across the country
The Bangladesh Cargo Vessel Owners Association (BCVOA) has demanded implementation of Water Transport Cell (WTC) policy by February 15; otherwise all ships of the owners across the country will stop operating.
The organisation made the demand at a press conference in the capital on Saturday.
The organisation also declared that a memorandum would be submitted to the director general of shipping on January 26.
Speakers at the programme claimed that, according to the WTC gazette, the factory owners were supposed to use their own ships to transport 50% of their imported goods, but they continued to transport illegal goods on their own vessels. They are also transporting goods on chartered ships.
Nurul Haque, general secretary of BCVOA, said, "We have tried our best to stop illegal bulkhead ships from breaking the queue. We have made movements in the waterway. We have had multiple meetings with the relevant parties. But the illegal ships and bulkheads have not stopped."
"Our ability to transport goods has been proven through planned surveys and registration, however, we are still not getting the bay-crossing approvals; bulkhead ships are getting permits instead," he added.
The organisations pointed out a few demands during the press conference including, stopping ships transporting goods out of queue, stopping the transportation of goods from Chattogram port and external docks through illegal bulkheads, take disciplinary action against those who transport goods out of queue, and against illegal bulkhead operators, cancel the registration of all ships operating without surveys and registration certificates, abolish the norm "bay-crossing clearances will not be granted to vessels above 15 years old", grant bay-crossing approval as per the schedule mentioned in the survey charter and dredge waterways and take action to navigate all cargo vessels, including launches, bulkheads, in accordance with the maritime policy.
Nurul Haque further said, "We transport goods all over the country on our ships and we also transport imported goods from overseas in lighter ships from mother vessels as per government policy."
"While we, the ordinary ship owners, transport goods in accordance with the government and WTC policies, some factory owners, product agents and unscrupulous traders are operating ships out of queue. They make four to five illegal trips per month, but we are not able to make even one trip in two-three months." he added.