Sunday September 19, 2021

Ship grounded at Karachi beach floated after 48 days

September 08, 2021
Ship grounded at Karachi beach floated after 48 days

KARACHI: The cargo ship that was stuck off the Karachi beach has finally started floating after 48 days, Geo News reported on Tuesday. According to the TV channel, the operation to recover the stranded cargo ship Hang Tong 77 from the port city’s shore has been successful.

Tug vessels have taken control of the ship, as per the reports, which is moving at the speed of three nautical miles. “The ship will be taken to the harbour [by the tugs],” said Commodore (retd) Obaidullah, an expert on the maritime affairs, speaking to Geo News. “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 had travelled 5-6 kms into the sea and was expected to arrive soon at the harbour. Obaidullah said it took time for the stranded ship to be rescued because there was no dedicated salvage company in Pakistan, adding that three attempts to recover 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 Hang Tong 77, manufactured in 2011, sank into the sand near Seaview, Karachi, due to a broken anchor on July 21. Registered in Panama, the ship weighs 2,250 tons and is loaded with containers.

According to the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) spokesman, the ship came ashore due to high waves and a weak engine. The captain of the ship said that one of the ship’s anchors broke on July 20. He requested an immediate berth for 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 1:15pm on the night between July 20 and 21, the captain had stated. The captain then made an emergency call at 1:20pm to Port Qasim and Manora, however, the KPT control did not provide help.