Sunday September 19, 2021

Cargo ship stuck off at Karachi beach since July started floating

The ship is moving at a speed of three nautical miles, says Commodore (retd) Obaidullah
September 07, 2021

KARACHI: After a successful rescue operation, the cargo vessel stuck at Karachi beach has finally started moving after 48 days, Geo News reported Tuesday.

Tug vessels have taken control of the cargo ship Hang Tong 77, which is moving at a speed of three nautical miles.

Speaking to Geo News, Commodore (retd) Obaidullah, an expert on maritime affairs, said "The ship will be taken to the harbour [by the tugs]."

"This is because of two reasons; both of its anchors have broken and the Pakistan government has taken the ship into its custody," he said.

"I don't want to use the word arrest. The ship has been detained, which means it will be brought to the harbour where the government's surveyors will monitor it and even carry out an underwater check of the ship," he added.

He said that the surveyors would also check the safety navigation equipment of the ship and its engines. "Till the owner does not fix the issues pointed out by the authorities, the ship will remain here," he explained.

"This ship can leave for any other destination from the Karachi harbour only after the issues identified are fixed," he said.

Commodore (retd) Obaidullah said that an oil spill was fortunately avoided. He said the Pakistan Navy and other institutions had ensured that the ship was cordoned off and arrangements were made to prevent an oil spill.

He said that the ship has travelled 5-6km into the sea and was expected to arrive soon at the harbour. "All is going well," he said.

Obaidullah said it took time for the stranded ship to be rescued because there is no dedicated salvage company in Pakistan, adding that three attempts to rescue the ship were undertaken previously.

He said that two tugs are accompanying Hang Tong 77, adding that one is on standby while the other tug is towing the cargo ship.

The incident

The Hang Tong 77, manufactured in 2011, sank in the sand near Seaview Karachi due to a broken hanger on July 21.

According to a Karachi Port Trust (KPT) spokesman, the ship came ashore due to high waves and a weak engine.

The captain of the ship informed that one of the ship's anchors broke on July 20. He requested an immediate berth of the ship as it was difficult to handle the ship with only one anchor, but the berth was not provided to him.

The second anchor of the ship broke at 1:15 pm on the night between July 20 and 21, the captain had stated.

The captain then made an emergency call at 1:20 pm to Port Qasim and Manohra, however, the KPT-Control did not provide help, KPT officers informed the media.