Gaddani ship-fire turns into a mega scandal

Investigation report to be submitted in a week

Salahuddin Haider

Karachi—The fire that raged for four days on a ship brought to Gaddani ship-breaking yard near Sonmiani close to Karachi, has turned out to be a mega scandal, enquiry into which has become necessary as to whether the ship-breakers were really involved in a genuine business or whether the ship brought here from different merchants in the world, are actually being used to smuggle oil to our country.
If that is the case, then it is causing huge losses to the exchequer which could have accrued in the form of taxes, customs duties etc.
Experts in the field emphasized that no ship can be brought into a ship-breaking yard without clearance from a world-recognised Belgium NGO, which issues a certificate that the ship has been emptied of inflammable material like oil, gas etc.
There is a procedure followed worldwide called SPDI which has to be compulsorily followed. In the case of the ship that caught fire at Gaddani its owners had probably, wittingly or unwittingly ignored that process and imported the ship into Gaddani beach.
It contained 200 tons of oil, which could have fetched a fortune when sold in the local market. Customs and excise duties, government sales taxes, could have been easily avoided through illegal transportation of the material loaded on the ship.
The fire has now doused off, but even the Ports and Shipping Minister Hasil Bizenjo did not reveal the whole truth during visit to the site of the man-made tragedy. He confined his discourse to mere statement that the ship had oil on board that helped caused the fury for four days.
Enquiries carried out from different websites revealed that nothing short of the pursuance of proper procedure for import of vessels

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