Goa port chief does not want fishing vessels


Panaji : Fishing trawlers dotting the seas off Mormugao could lead to the port there losing a key global security code, the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) has warned.

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In a string of advertisements released in major newspapers in Goa Monday, the 125-year-old MPT said unless the Khariwada fishing jetty — located within the port premises — was shifted out, merchant vessels could drop Mormugao as a berthing destination on India’s western coast.

“The fishing jetty has to be at a permanent location outside Vasco Bay, otherwise the MPT will lose its International Merchant Ships Facility and Port Security (ISPS) code compliance and merchant ships and passenger ships will stop calling at our port completely,” the advertisements issued by MPT chairman Praveen Agarwal said.

The ISPS code is a comprehensive set of measures to enhance the security of ships and port facilities, developed in response to the perceived threats to ships and port facilities in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks in the US.

“The frequent criss-crossing and operation of large number of fishing boats and trawlers have resulted in captains of visiting ships expressing grave concern about the security scene in the MPT,” Agarwal said in the advertisement.

According to him, alarmed by the increased movement of fishing boats and trawlers, an international cruise ship had heaved anchor from the port recently.

“International merchant ships and cruise passenger ships will not call at ports which do not comply with the ISPS code,” Agarwal warned, adding that this would cause a loss of revenue.

“A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was executed in 1998 to shift the (Khariwada) jetty outside the port jurisdiction. The agreement was signed between Goa government, MPT and Goa Fishing Boat Owners Association,” Agarwal said.

The MPT chairman has in the past locked horns with the state’s revenue minister and Khariwada fishing community leader Jose Philip D’Souza over the relocation of the fishing jetty.

In a complaint filed at the Vasco police station in January, after the MPT made a public announcement calling for shifting the fishing jetty out of MPT area, Agarwal had complained that an unknown telephone caller had threatened to kill him.

He has also alleged in the past that the Khariwada jetty was a transit point for sailors of Pakistani origin illegally entering and exiting the country.