Saturday September 18, 2021

Heng Tong ship anchored only for crew change: minister

Heng Tong ship anchored only for crew change: minister

KARACHI: Ali Haider Zaidi, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs has said that MV Heng Tong 77 anchored in Pakistan's territorial waters for a crew change and never entered or sailed in the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) Harbour. The minister shared that the small ship of 98 meters only suffered severe engine degradation and was coming to Karachi at hardly 2.5 knots. Extreme rough weather added to its troubles and it lost anchors and started drifting towards shallow waters in the early hours of the morning on Eid day. By the time the vessel informed KPT of its drifting, it was already in shallow waters. The minister added that on Thursday, he visited the Clifton beach where the ship is now in extreme shallow waters, hardly 0.5 m. He added that Port tugs average draft requirement is 5 to 6 meters and if they go close they be grounded and will impact Pakistan’s shipping.

The minister said that KPT Navigation Channel has not been impacted and shipping is going as as per routine. He added that salvaging of the vessel is the responsibility of the ship owner through P&I club. He added that the captain of the Ship has informed DG PSMA that the ship owner has started contacting the special shallow draft salvage tugs and equipment providers to pull the vessel out. And they are expecting a pull out Plan in writing tomorrow.

The minister stated that all consequential marine & environmental damages will be on account of the owner and ship will not be allowed to leave without payment of dues. He added that technical and operational staff of KPT and Port Qasim is monitoring and available to assist in ship salvage plan and PSMA will also play its due role.