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Dhaka can grab major share of global ship building market PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 24 April 2008

Staff Reporter

Banglar Shourav, a fuel- carrying mother tanker of the state-owned Bangladesh Shipping Corporation (BSC) and which was once abandoned as a scrap ship, has been made fully operational again in less than two years by a local private ship-building firm, reports agency.

The local firm, Karnaphuli Ship Builders Ltd (KSBL), has done the job under a Taka 23.25 crore repair agreement with the BSC on a “no cure no pay” basis, employing the local technology and manpower.

Formal sea trial of the 15,000 metric ton capacity vessel was completed successfully on Tuesday in the presence of officials of the BSC and the KSBL.

Banglar Shourav sailed off from Dolphin Jetty in Patenga at about 10.30 am and anchored at the same point after about a two- hour sea cruise up to the estuary of Chittagong Port Channel.

Built in a Denmark yard in 1987, the vessel had been engaged in transportation of imported fuel by Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) since 1988 and met an accident that led to a devastating fire at Outer Anchorage of the Bay of Bengal on June 24, 2006, during an attempt of making it gas-free. The vessel almost split into two parts and most of its body sank into the water.

A cadet officer and a pump man on board the ship was burnt alive during the blowout while its chief officer succumbed to his burn injuries at a hospital in Bangkok later.

It had been left abandoned at Gahira coast in a half-sunk position for nearly two months, and local and foreign experts viewed that the ship could not be retrieved and made operational again. P & I Club, the foreign insurance company, undertook the ownership of the vessel from the BSC by paying Taka 21 crore as demurrage and insurance claim and later the BSC reclaimed its ownership from P & I Club for Taka 4.20 crore.

The KSBL took the challenge to repair the vessel through an international bidding floated by BSC with a bank guarantee of Taka 5.5 crore. The BSBL authority completed the repair work in 21 months at Chittagong Dry Dock yard using the local technology and manpower under the technical supervision of a Singapore-based consultant firm, GB Marine Private Ltd.

The local firm also won the tender of Taka 9.66 crore work for repair and internal decoration of engine, deck, accommodation and electrification which have also been completed within the stipulated time. KSBL officials told journalists on Tuesday that with the efforts of their firm, the once scrap and abandoned ship has now been turned into an asset of Taka 200 crore by spending only Taka 12 crore excluding the money received from P & I Club as demurrage and insurance claim. The vessel will be handed over to the BSC authorities soon after completion of necessary inspection.

They said their firm has already earned reputation by building a number of sea trucks, mooring boat, harbour tug, water barge and fishing trawler on a commercial basis using the local technology and manpower.

Captain Amirul Haq, a senior official of the KSBL, said Bangladesh can capture a sizeable share of potential international ship building market by manufacturing big-size vessels and even warships locally if the government formulates a comprehensive supportive policy and patronizes financially for sound growth of the sector.

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