Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, Feb 11: The pilferage of cargo, including maize, diesel and rice, from the anchorage port has become a matter of concern for shipping trade in the area.
One of the shippers, on the condition of anonymity, said ''pilferage has become a major drain on the pockets of shippers. The loss is very heavy, forcing the shippers to do a rethink on taking up maize exports. The pilferage is 80 to 120 tonnes in the case of a vessel having capacity of 6,000 to 7,000 tonnes and it is between 150 to 300 tonnes for a vessel of 20,000 capacity. The wastage loss permissible is 0.25 per cent, but the shipper has to bear two per cent loss on account of pilferage.'' The pilferage had stopped for some time after wooden boats were converted into steel barges and due to the strict vigil maintained by the police. But of late, the gang involved in pilferage has once again become active with the support of politicians, he alleged.
The gang's modus operandi was to divert few bags at the goods sheds, mostly while being ferried to the anchorage port in mid-sea, with the involvement of lorry crew and the steel barge Kalasis.
Port Harbour Craft Superintendent and in-charge port officer M Satyam clarified that the pilferage activity was taking place outside the port area. ''The godowns are located in the new port area and leased out to private parties. However, strict vigil is being maintained round the clock by the port security personnel, numbering over 60, in turns.
''The pilferage of cargo, especially maize, is taking place at transit points -- the godowns outside the port and jetties before being ferried in the port canal. The port police and the marine police register cases against the offenders from time to time,'' he added.
Inspector and Port Facility Security Officer M D K V Prasad claimed they were extending all possible assistance to the port police in curbing the pilferage. They recently nabbed the 'diesel thieves' in a joint operation with the port police using speed boats.
Admitting that pilferage of cargo was going on in connivance with lorry crew and the port workers engaged by the steel barges, Port police station Sub-Inspector and Marine police station in-charge Y RK Srinivas, however, claimed that the pilferage of cargo and other offences have been curbed to a large extent due to strict vigil kept by both the marine and port police.