All over again?
Dismantling work of Crystal Gold, the ship that has remained stranded on Chattogram's Parki Beach since 2017, started on the beach yesterday.
This comes after the company was imposed a Tk 2 crore fine for commencing ship-breaking works on the beach without permission from the Department of Environment (DoE), Chattogram, in 2019.
Talking to this newspaper yesterday, Amjad Hossain, director of the ship's owning company -- Four Star Enterprise -- said, "We have started dismantling the 192-metre ship. We have also paid the Tk 2 crore fine to the DoE."
Contacted, Mofidul Alam, director of DoE, Chattogram, said they have received the fine and allowed the company to start the works on the beach. "But we have formed a monitoring committee and will intervene if the company breaks our guidelines."
However, Anwara UNO and president of Parki Beach Management Committee Shekh Jobaer Ahmed said, "We have been tasked to monitor the ship-breaking works, as the area falls under our jurisdiction. But the company has started without notifying us."
Meanwhile, experts have expressed concern over the latest development in this long-running saga.
Dr Md Atiqur Rahman, associate professor of geography and environmental studies department at Chittagong University, said, "Dismantling this old ship in the beach area will cause extensive damage there. The old, toxic oil of the ship will get mixed with the beach water, which will seriously endanger the biodiversity of the sea."
"It should've been taken to a designated ship-breaking yard," Dr Atiqur opined.
The ship washed up on the beach after Cyclone Mora hit the coasts on May 30, 2017. Back then, it belonged to Crystal Group. But it was sold off to Four Star Enterprise at an auction near the end of 2018, after the former owners got embroiled in legal and internal complications.