PN contributes to Improvement of Marine Environment

By Mehar-un-Nisa

Research Assistant NCMPR

Imagine the world without clean water; not a single drop of clean drinking water; marine living organisms dying due to suffocating mass of garbage and debris; oceans being polluted by oil and dirt and air filled with smoke and poisonous gasses. No oxygen to breathe. Deforestation at its peak.  Earth devoid of an ozone layer. Imagine the death of life supporting environment on earth.

One needn’t “imagine” this scenario in near future if the initiatives to save this planet are not taken now.


To safeguard the world from this situation and to ensure the healthy environment, the contribution of Pakistan Navy (PN) among many other organizations and stakeholder is commendable indeed!


PN has contributed in the development of maritime sector despite it is not the primary duty of PN. PN has actively worked to save the oceans from pollution and resolve the issues related to marine environment.


The pollution at Karachi Harbour is not a secret. The threat of pollution has immense impact on the life of those people who are directly or indirectly associated with maritime sector. The eco-system has been disturbed greatly. PN makes vigorous efforts to bring all the stake holders on board and persuade them to initiate effective measures. PN is perusing KPT for mitigation of pollution in Karachi Harbour. KPT and PN, in turn are pursuing CDGK to control waste from entering Karachi Harbour through S-III project.

020925-N-4309A-006 - Arabian Sea -  USS Rueben James (FFG 57) along with Pakistan Navy Ship (PNS) Shahjahan and PNS Tippi Sultan are currently participating in Exercise Inspired Siren 02. Inspired Siren 02 is a U.S.- Pakistani bilateral military exercise involving surfaces and air forces from the two nations. It is designed to enhance interoperability and tactical proficiency of Pakistani and U.S. forces. It will also refine and strengthen the existing military-to-military relationships of the two Nations. U.S. Navy Photo by PH2 Aaron Ansarov of Fleet Combat Camera Group Pacific. -CLEARED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE by Ensign Ed Rexha, Public Affairs Officer, USS Rueben James (FFG-57).

The conduct of environment friendly activities such as regular harbour cleaning and environmental awareness campaigns every year reveals the dedication of PN to keep the environment clean.


Jinnah Naval Base Harbour at Ormara and PN Berths at Karachi Harbour are regularly monitored and it is ensured that no solid waste, garbage, oil, and bilges are thrown into the sea by ships, boats or workshops.PN putsits every effort in collection of floating debris around jetties through debris collection boats to keep the Harbour clean.

PN believes in promoting healthy environment by tree plantation activities in different areas of Pakistan. Recently the tree plantation activities in barren arid land of Baluchistan have been conducted and are expanded in phased manner. Various types of plants and mangroves have been planted at Turbat and Ormara.


Additionally, the next project is the regeneration of mangroves jungles along the Coast to compensate for the damage caused by environmentally unsafe practices. This project will be implemented in districts of Thatta and Gwadar.


Another commendable initiative of PN is, with the assistance of Mangroves for the Future (MFF) programme, installation of an organic sewage treatment plant.  This is a UN recommended self-sustaining natural reed bed sewage treatment plant at Manora to reduce land based pollution from the island.


Oil spill incidents lead to marine pollution. To avoid oil spill hazards PN regularly plans and conducts “Barracuda” series of oil spill exercises. These exercises improve expertise and coordination between all stakeholders to handle national marine disasters effectively in case of oil spills in harbour and at sea.


The celebration of the World Environment Day (WED) and World Ocean Day (WOD) by PN in the year 2015 includes a variety of activities to increase awareness among masses.


Usually, on World Environment Day and World Oceans Day public awareness campaigns are launched on the significance of WED and WOD, impact of environmental issues and climate change.  Banners, pamphlets, leaflets are printed and displayed in units, schools, and residential areas.  Video clips of activities are broadcast through cable operators to spread awareness. Harbour Cleaning Campaigns and Beach Cleaning Walks are conducted. A Maritime Carnival at Maritime Museum is also organized.


Moreover, PN educational institutes conduct environmental awareness activities, debating, essay writing, skits, and chart making competitions to inculcate required consciousness in the future generations.


These steps show the dedication of PN to promote Safe and healthy environment. However, for these initiatives to work, the concerned authorities overseeing these projects must fulfill their responsibilities. Each of us ought to show ownership of the environment to make a difference.


A Belated But Good Start

By  V/Adm Asaf Humayun HI(M) (Retired)

(Director General NCMPR)

I can recall the pleasant afternoon in Gwadar in March 2007.  President Pervez Musharraf, Prime Minister, Governor of Balochistan, all Federal Ministers, Chief Minister Balochistan, the Provincial Cabinet and many other VIPS were present for the inauguration of Gwadar port.  Gwadar port received the first symbolic cargo on 20 March 2007.  The ship in port was PNSC vessel MV SIBI, which carried dummy cargo for the inaugural off-loading of a container.  Perhaps the empty container symbolised that Gwadar was not ready to fulfil its role, as the port for Afghanistan and Central Asian Region.  During the speeches, the President, on the urging of Minister for Ports and Shipping, made the distracting and pre-mature announcement of planning another port at Sonmiani on the Balochistan coast.  This announcement diverted attention of the investors towards Sonmiani, which is closer to Karachi.   Sonmiani port is yet to see light of the day but the announcement did put a break to the investment boom in Gwadar.


 From 2008 to 2014 Gwadar port handled only 5.7 million tons of imported cargo.  The cargo was wheat and urea imported by the Government through Trading Corporation of Pakistan.  The cargo was, then, carried to Karachi through Coastal Highway.  Meanwhile the first port operator PSA (Port of Singapore Authority) could not exploit the promised potential of Gwadar.  The reasons were many; some on part of PSA and some on part of Pakistani authorities.  Ultimately, the Concession Agreement with PSA was terminated in 2012.  On 18 Feb 2013, a new Concession Agreement was signed with COPHC (China Overseas Port Holding Company).

conatiner gwadar

COPHC has been deliberate in consolidating its presence in Gwadar port.  The acquisition of land for tax-free zone has been making slow progress.  By 2015, most of the land for tax-free zone at Gwadar has been acquired.  The road link to Northern Pakistan through M‑8 Gwadar-Ratodero motorway and N-85 Gwadar-Surab Highway, though on high priority, have lingered for so many years.  One also reads about Gwadar-Turbat-Hoshab road making some headway.  Their completion is forecast during 2016.  In spite of the slow progress of essential infrastructure, the launching of China Pakistan Economic Corridor has provided a fantastic opportunity to Gwadar Port and COPHC.

zi jing song

In this environment of slow progress, the news of the first export cargo leaving Gwadar port provides a sign of great hope.  In my meeting with Mr. Zheng Qingsong, CEO of COPHC in Pakistan in January 2015, he had hinted about the high priority he gave to export of cargo from Gwadar.  It was rumoured that the first ship will leave with cargo in the first week of April.  Nevertheless, the first ship arrived on 10 May and left on 11 May 2015.  It was not a container ship.  It was a break-bulk vessel MV ZI JING SONG of 27,000 DWT.  The volume of cargo at Gwadar is still quite small.  Using a container ship for a cargo of 6 containers only does not make economic sense.


To witness the momentous occasion, Mr Kamran Michael Minister of Ports and Shipping was present himself.  The first cargo comprised 135 tons of frozen fish exported by Gaba Group of Companies. The fish had been caught by the fishermen of Gwadar.  The refrigerated containers are destined for Far East.  However, the cargo went westward to Jebel Ali to be loaded onto a regular service container ship for the Far East.  Another batch of export cargo will leave Gwadar on 18 May.  With regular export cargo service, the fishermen of Pasni, Gwadar and Jiwani area will have a direct link to rest of the World.  That will change the life of the local population.

The credit for this achievement goes to COPHC.  The exporter, of course, paid normal freight rates from Gwadar to Jebel Ali.  The vessel was not carrying any import cargo.  So COPHC had to bear the cost of diverting this vessel for Gwadar and offered other concessions.  The service can become a regular feature in the long run, only if the quantum of export and import cargo justifies the costs of vessels calling at Gwadar.


One hundred thirty five tons of export cargo appears a laughable quantity; that too in such a manner that may not be sustainable for long.  However, it demonstrates the commitment of COPHC that they will not leave any stone unturned to make a success of their Gwadar port venture.  It also ushers in an open gateway of prosperity for the fishermen of Gwadar.  So let us not dismiss this as an insignificant event.  As the Chinese sage Lao Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”