Monday January 24, 2022

Rescue teams suspend operation to free cargo ship stranded at Karachi's Seaview

Authorities say the attempt to free the ship will resume tomorrow

By Web Desk
August 11, 2021
The vessel had become stranded at the Seaview beach on July 21. Photo file
The vessel had become stranded at the Seaview beach on July 21. Photo file

KARACHI: The operation to free the cargo vessel stuck at Karachi's  Seaview beach has been terminated, Geo News reported Wednesday.

The operation was suspended as a result of a delay in the arrival of a barge, said the authorities concerned, adding that the operation will be resumed again tomorrow.

A  rescue operation to free the vessel had started on Tuesday 20 days after it first got stuck at the beach.

Shipping experts' opinion

According to shipping experts, the orders for help should have come way before the ship was taken into custody.

Only an abandoned ship can be taken into custody like this, whereas a ship that hasn’t been given up by its owner or crew members cannot be taken into custody by the port authorities in Karachi, said the experts.

Moreover, the authorities would need an order from the court in case the ship has to be taken into custody for a different reason, such as the clearance of dues.

Besides, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Maritime Affairs Mahmood Moulvi said that the custody can be claimed under criminal shipping laws on the basis of a fault in the ship.

“There is a provision in the law for holding the ship back therefore we will not allow them to take the ship before the payment of money spent on the ship’s security and clearance of other dues,” said Moulvi.

Ship's custody

The vessel, Heng Tong 77, had been taken into custody by the government of Pakistan and an official notification was also issued in this regard.

According to the notification, the ship has been seized by the government under the Pakistan Merchant Ordinance.

Meanwhile, experts have declared Heng Tong 77 not fit to be used for maritime purposes, read the notification.

Cargo ship stuck at Seaview beach

Panama registered MV Heng Tong 77 was anchored in Pakistan's territorial waters off Karachi for a crew change on July 21 when it lost anchors due to rough seas and drifted towards the shore, the Karachi Port Trust had said.

The cargo ship remained stranded at Karachi's Seaview beach for 20 days.