Narinjara News

Burmese Timber and Bangladeshi Fertilizer
Staff Reporter

Cox’s Bazar, 13
th August 03:  On Saturday last a cargo boat carrying smuggled Burmese timber capsized off the coastal town of Cox’s Bazar in the southeastern part of Bangladesh.  About ten crewmembers of the boat have been missing since then.

A sudden squall in the seas has been the cause of the accident.  It is estimated that the cargo was worth at least taka five million (US$85,000).  The Cox’s Bazar police and Forest guards rescued about a million-taka worth of the floating garjan timber (Dipterocarpus turbinatus).  Hundreds of smuggled timber pieces have been washed ashore by the tidewaters on the shores of the islands of Maheshkhali and Kutubdia.

According to the police source a cargo boat owned by a notorious smuggler of Chittagong, the chief seaport of Bangladesh, loaded the timber at Sittwe port in the western Burmese state of Rakhine on 7th August.  The fate of the ten crewmembers is yet to be known.

Meanwhile, thirty-five crewmembers of five cargo boats arrested while smuggling out urea fertilizer to Burma have been sent to the Chittagong jail, according to the local Bengali daily Ittefaq yesterday.  They were arrested on Friday evening for their doubtful movements in the Bay waters off Maheshkhali Island.  The consignments found in the boats included 718 metric tonnes of urea fertilizer produced in the Chittagong Urea Fertilizer Company.  Since no relevant papers were found from the boats they were brought to the Navy moorage in Chittagong.  The Navy handed over the crew to the port police and the cargo and the boats to the Department of Customs.    

In recent months the Burmese smugglers have been offering a colour television set for one thousand fifty-kilo bags of Bangladeshi fertilizer smuggled, said a Burmese trader available in Cox’s Bazar.  #