Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Maritime Affairs MehmoodMaulvion Monday said that broken anchors and engine failure in extreme rough sea conditions were apparently the main causes of beaching of the ship MV Heng Tong 77 at Karachi coastline.
While talking to media here at Sea View, the SAPM said the authorities were striving to prevent any possible oil spillage from the ship to prevent Pakistan’s coastline from any consequential marine and environmental damages.
“Right now our primary concern is to safely remove the oil from the ship for saving our coastline from hazards of pollution,” he said, adding that 48 hour notice has been served to shipping company and shipping agent in that regard and if they failed to remove the oil within stipulated time Pakistani authorities would ensure the safe removal of the oil bunkers from the ship.
He said that an inquiry committee has been constituted to probe the incident but the initial information suggested that the ship had defective engines which were operating at 2.5 knot speed while the captain of the ship was unaware of the condition of the vessel.
He said the ship did not enter in Karachi Harbour and carried out crew change in outer anchorage and sailed out on July 17.
Then MV Heng Tong came back in Pakistani waters on pretext of bad weather, he said and adding that the KPT was communicated about the situation when ship started drifting after breaking of the second anchor.
Moulvi said that the ship was in very shallow waters and tug boats were unable to drift it out.
Salvage operation could only be started after high tide and it did not seem possible before August 15, he further said.
Owner of the ship was Iranian and the shipping company was registered in UAE, SAPM informed adding that “The owners will need to claim insurance in order to salvage the ship and must abide by international maritime laws.”
The SAPM was accompanied by Chairman KPT Nadir Warraich and Director General Ports and Shipping Syed Syedain Raza Zaidi.