KARACHI: The Karachi Port Trust (KPT) on Tuesday began efforts to retrieve containers which fell into the sea after two vessels collided at South Asia Pakistan Terminals (SAPT) a day earlier, port and shipping sources said.

They said due to an operation launched by the KPT to retrieve the sunken containers the movement of ships at the SAPT remained suspended on Tuesday.

According to the sources, KPT authorities have deployed floating crane ‘Hati’ for the efforts and also sought assistance from the Karachi Ship­yard and Engineering Works and other organisations.

Around 19 containers fell into the sea after incoming vessel ‘Tolten’ of Hapag Lloyd in the process of taking alongside berth at the SAPT collided with a stationary vessel ‘Hamburg Bay’. The collision caused damage to both the vessels.

The containers are said to have sunk to the port’s basin as well in the approach channel of the terminal. They are hazardous for the movement of incoming and outgoing vessels.

The sources said that ‘Tolten’ hull was extensively damaged at the front, adding that PN&I Club had conducted a survey for insurance claims and determining the factors leading to the mishap.

The Karachi port also sought help from Port Qasim and Pakistan National Shipping Corporation.

KPT Chairman Rear Adm­iral Jamil Akhtar along with General Manager Operations Rear Admiral Asif Hameed visited the incident site.

Port and shipping experts were of view that the approach of the incoming vessel handled by a KPT pilot was very narrow and this could be due to miscalculation on the part of the pilot which resulted in the collision of the two ships. They said both the vessels could not be moved out till the time the operation in the basin area and the approach channel was completed.

Senior KPT officials were reportedly reprimanded over the incident in a meeting presided over by Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Senator Hasil Khan Binzenjo.

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2018

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