Cargo ship stranded at Karachi beach freed after 48 days, to undergo repairs at Keamari: SAPM

Published September 7, 2021
A cameraman films the stranded Heng Tong 77 cargo ship at Sea View Beach near Karachi on July 26, 2021. — AP/File
A cameraman films the stranded Heng Tong 77 cargo ship at Sea View Beach near Karachi on July 26, 2021. — AP/File

The MV Heng Tong 77, a container ship stranded at Karachi’s Seaview beach, was freed from the spot on Tuesday and tugged to the port at Keamari for repair work, said Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Maritime Affairs Mahmood Maulvi.

“The ship is still detained till issuance of safety certificates,” he said in a statement to Dawn.com

According to Maulvi, the cargo ship will be inspected and subsequently allowed to float after safety clearance.

The rescue operation for the ship was jointly undertaken by Pakistan Maritime Security Agency, Pakistan Navy and Karachi Port Trust (KPT) teams.

According to the 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.

On August 11, the government of Pakistan had detained the container ship, which experts declared "unseaworthy" and a threat to "human life on ship and property".

"Vessel is not seaworthy 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," The Ministry of Maritime Affairs had said in a statement.

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".

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.

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