A pirate attack reported to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) by the MV Kota Rancak – anchored at Chattogram port – has proven false after investigation and the ship's master has withdrawn the report.
The sailors of the Singapore-flagged container ship sold some of the goods it was carrying and tried to pin it on the pirates, said relevant sources.
A press release issued by Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) yesterday said the Singapore-flagged Kota Rancak's master or sailors had not informed the Chattogram port or the Coast Guard even though it had complained to the IMB that piracy had taken place at the port's outer harbor on 28 June.
After receiving an email from IMB to the Coast Guard, a team from the Coast Guard East Zone investigated the incident at the request of CPA Chairman Rear Admiral M Shahjahan.
The investigation team comprising representatives of Bangladesh Coast Guard, CPA and Department of Shipping went onboard the MV Kota Rancak to investigate the matter.
The investigation revealed that the ship's sailors sold ropes and oil from the ship to a local vendor. The Coast Guard raided and seized the goods sold and interrogated the ship's sailors and the vendors.
During interrogation, the ship's sailor and the vendor who purchased the goods admitted that those were unloaded from the MV Kota Rancak in exchange for dollars, said the report submitted by Coast Guard.
Besides, the ship's master admitted that the complaint submitted to the IMB was false. He also told the investigation team that there was no pirate attack on the ship on 28 June and withdrew the report sent to the IMB, said the press release from the CPA.
The CPA also said no theft, robbery or piracy has taken place at Chattogram port during the 2019-2021 period. The outer harbor and coastal areas of Chattogram port have a reputation as a safe area. Since the implementation of the ISPS code in July 2004, the security situation at Chattogram port has been enviable.
The inclusion of alleged piracy in the report of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) has tarnished the image of Chattogram port. According to the ReCAAP, the country's main seaport was 100% free from piracy in 2019 and 2021.
Chattogram Port Authority Secretary Md Omor Faruk said a vested quarter has been trying to tarnish the image of the port by submitting fake piracy reports. An investigation by the ReCAAP also found that six fake piracy reports were submitted in 2012.
"Once again, the country was saved from the scandal of piracy due to the courageous role of CPA Chairman Rear Admiral M Shahjahan," said Md Omor Faruk.