Govt detains ‘unseaworthy’ ship stranded at Karachi beach

Published August 11, 2021
The Ministry of Maritime Affairs has declared the ship “dangerous” for humans and informed in writing to the ship captain about it.
 — Photo courtesy: Pakistan Navy
The Ministry of Maritime Affairs has declared the ship “dangerous” for humans and informed in writing to the ship captain about it. — Photo courtesy: Pakistan Navy

The Pakistan government has detained the MV Heng Tong 77, the container ship stranded at Karachi’s Seaview beach, which experts have declared "unseaworthy" and a threat to "human life on ship and property".

According to the Karachi Port Trust (KPT), the cargo ship coming from Shanghai was on its way to Istanbul, Turkey, and did not completely enter the Karachi Harbour, although it was anchored in Pakistani waters awaiting a crew change.

The rough sea caused the vessel to lose its anchors and it started drifting towards shallow water on July 21. The ship was already in shallow water by the time the KPT was informed about the situation.

The KPT then alerted the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PSMA) which couldn't provide much help as well.

The Ministry of Maritime Affairs has now declared the ship “dangerous” for humans and informed in writing the ship's captain about it.

Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi also shared a "detention notice" for the ship on Twitter.

"Vessel is not sea worthy due to defective hull & nav equip, weak engine, poor life saving/fire fitting equipment. In this current state it poses a threat to our channel + other vessels well," Zaidi tweeted.

The notice added that the ship would be released after a satisfactory report by the surveyor, urging the captain to arrange for "repair/ maintenance of the hull and equipment".

Rescue operation

Meanwhile, the rescue operation, being jointly undertaken by PSMA, Pakistan Navy and KPT teams, to remove the stranded ship off the coast of Clifton commenced this morning.

The teams started the work today with sand extraction from the ships' sides after it was halted yesterday due to the rough sea. Pakistan Navy says its team are monitoring the ship round the clock.

The ship, owned by a Hong Kong-based cargo company, is 98 metres in length and 20 metres wide. It was built in 2010 and has a capacity of 3,600 deadweight tonnage.

Normally, all ships raise Pakistan's flag on deck upon entering Pakistan's waters. But MV Heng Tong is flying a Panama flag as it never thought of making the change in the emergency it found itself in.

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