KARACHI: Shipping agents association has strongly condemned the linking of toxic gas leakage with soybean cargo.
In a statement issued on Wednesday they said that the first casualty was reported hours before discharging of soybean at Karachi Port Trust.
The statement issued by Ships Agents Association and Stevedoring Conference, stated: “We strongly condemn the rumors that are circulating targeting Soybean cargo which was being discharged partly at Karachi Port Trust at berth no. 10/11 east wharf.”
“It may be noted that cargo was discharged only during night of Sunday February 16, 2020 (discharging commenced at 19:00 hours) and day of Monday February 17, 2020 (discharging stopped at about 22:00 hours).”
Total of more than 600 labor worked on the ship none of them have been affected, it said.
This cargo has been arriving at Karachi Port since the last many years and up till now not a single incident has occurred or has been reported.
When the cargo was being discharged the wind direction was North East (NE) which means that it was towards Manora direction not towards land.
“We wish to also point out that the first person who was hospitalized was before the ship commenced discharging,” it said.
Ship Agents Association and Stevedoring Conference strongly advise that we should try and investigate the true nature of this incident considering the ground realities rather than getting involved in rumor mongering or speculation.
This cargo is used to make edible oil i.e. it is a agricultural commodity and does not have chemicals in it.
Plant Protection department visited the ship on February 18, 2020 with gas detectors to check for any harmful or toxic gases. “No gases were detected,” it said.
“We strongly recommend that this ship should not be shifted and cargo should be discharged at Karachi Port only.
“We confirm that we along with labor force of about 2 to 3,000 will stay at Karachi Port Trust berth during discharging operations. We must have the courage of our convictions,” according to the statement.