13 November 2016

Gadani shipbreaking incident report to be presented to PM on Monday:

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer Hussain on Friday said the investigation report into the Gadani ship-breaking yard incident has been finalised and will be submitted to Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Monday.

Addressing a news conference, Mr Hussain said that the incident happened as a result of negligence by the owner of the ship and the government. He said that the government departments concerned did not issue a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to the owner of the ship-breaking company and work started on the ship without official approval.

“There are no medical facilities and fire extinguishing equipment around the site of the ship-breaking yard,” the minister added.

The ship-breaking industry contributed about Rs12 billion per annum to the national economy but the workers were deprived of a proper hospital and medical aid at the site for safety, he said.

The government, Mr Hussain said, suspended grade 19 and grade 20 officials found guilty of negligence of their duty and a strict action was proposed against those responsible.

The inquiry committee was established on the directives of the prime minister to submit a detailed report within 15 days. The committee, headed by Mr Hussain, comprises the Balochistan Chief Secretary, Additional Secretary Defence, Managing Director Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works, including secretaries of the cabinet, defence production and ports and shipping.

The committee visited Karachi and Gadani shipyard to meet the owner of the ship and labour union representatives, including senior officials of the environment protection department and the Balochistan Development Custom Authorities.

Mr Hussain said the committee proposed a separate ministry of maritime affairs in the report to deal with matters pertaining to ship-breaking.

“The committee has recommended a board to make decisions regarding ship-breaking. It will be headed by the Balochistan chief secretary and representatives from Karachi Port Trust, Pakistan Navy Association and Collective Bargaining Agreement Union,” he added.

The ministry of defence Production would publish an advertisement in leading newspapers regarding missing workers to help relatives find them, said Mr Hussain.

Source: Dawn. 12 November 2016

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