Dead fish incident not due to dredging activities, says Penang Port CEO

According to its CEO, the port operator’s ongoing dredging works are being handled by Integrated Marine Works

By TMR / Pic By TMR File

PENANG Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) has denied allegations that the death of 50,000 fishes in Teluk Bahang was caused by dredging activities.

PPSB CEO Sasedharan Vasudevan (picture) said the company conducted investigations last Friday, and concluded that there was no leakage.

“All dredgers must be certified by the Marine Department (Malaysia) to ensure that they are in good working condition.

“PPSB is part of MMC Group. As responsible citizens, we would not compromise (on) poor business ethics.

“We started maintenance dredging since the early 1980s. It is necessary to ensure the declared drafts of 11m-12m,” he told a press conference in Penang recently.

Two weeks ago, a group of fishermen lodged a police report on a video allegedly showing a dredger leaving the North Channel near the North Butterworth Container Terminal with sediments trailing behind it.

An approved environment assessment (EA) issued by the Department of Environment (DoE) is needed before carrying out any dredging works.

The approved EA would be circulated to various authorities such as the Department of Irrigation and Drainage, Marine Department Northern Region, State Department of Fisheries, Port Authority, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and the Marine Operations Force.

The current EA — which was approved on Oct 9, 2015 — will expire on Aug 31 this year.

Sasedharan said the port operator’s ongoing dredging works are being handled by Integrated Marine Works Sdn Bhd (IMW).

“IMW is the concessionaire by the federal government to conduct dredging activities for all ports in Malaysia. The two dredgers we are deploying are Inai Tecoma and Inai Saga.

“Part of the requirements set by the DoE includes the Dredging and Dumping Monitoring System. It enables PPSB and the DoE to monitor the real-time movement of the dredgers using satellite,” he added.

During maintenance dredging, water samplings from 10 different locations at three levels are taken for analysis and the report is then submitted to the DoE.

Sasedharan said the latest report would be ready after the dredging works to complete on Aug 31.

Based on the Environmental Monitoring Report — 10th Maintenance Dredging, No 7 by Asian Environmental Solutions Sdn Bhd, the water quality in the dredging area and dumping of dredged materials at Muka Head were in compliance with the provisions set by the Malaysia Marine Water Quality Criteria and Standard.

Sasedharan said the distance to the approved dumping ground is 15 nautical miles or 27km from Teluk Bahang. As such, he believes that the incident was not due to the dredging activities.