With cyclone “Sitrang” approaching Bangladeshi coasts, handling of containers and bulk cargoes at both the Chittagong and the Mongla seaports remained suspended from Monday (24 October) morning amid high wind and heavy rains.
The port authorities have sent all vessels to the deep sea from the jetties and the equipment was packed to avoid any incidents.
The Chittagong port authority has issued the second highest alert number 3, after the Met Office issued danger warning no. 6 for Chittagong port and warning number 7 for Mongla port.
The cyclone may hit the coast Monday midnight or early Tuesday at 80 kilometres to 100 km speed. The meteorological department has warned that a 1.5 to 2.5 metre water surge above normal tide may occur when the cyclone hits the coastal districts.
Chittagong port spokesperson Omar Faruk said the activities will remain suspended at the port yard until the situation becomes normal.
He noted that 18 vessels which were under loading and unloading operations at the jetties were sent to the deep sea by 11.30 am (local time) on Monday. He added that 46 vessels were asked to leave outer anchorage towards the deep sea as soon as possible.
Faruk said that delivery works at the port yards will also be totally suspended by 5 pm (local time) Monday.
Currently, there are 35,588 TEUs of containers at the port yard. On Sunday, the port authority issued a notification to the importers to take delivery immediately.
On the other hand, Mongla port also issued port alert number 3 after the Met Office issued danger alert number 7 for the port located in south western Bangladesh.
The loading and unloading of cargoes in 13 vessels at the port remained suspended from Sunday night due to heavy rain and wind.
Mongla Port Authority Harbour Master Captain Mohammed Shaheen Majeed said five foreign vessels could not enter the port area on Monday due to the cyclone. Besides, three vessels could not leave the port area despite the completion of the unloading of cargo.
At least 15 fishing trawlers sank on Monday in St Martin Island under Cox’s Bazar district due to a cyclonic storm. The government has ordered the suspension of plying of all kinds of river vessels across the country to avoid any incidents and loss of lives.
Meantime, the civil aviation authority has also suspended operations in three airports in coastal districts from Monday afternoon to Tuesday noon.