Merchant vessel crew rescued off Karachi coast

ISPR says Navy, PSMA recover 15 people, three still missing

Our Correspondent July 31, 2021


Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) on Friday successfully ensured the recovery of stranded crew members of a merchant vessel during a joint assistance operation of the coast of Karachi, according to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

The military's media wing said PMSA’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre received a report that the vessel "Suvari H”, which sailed from Kandla, India and was on its way to Bossasso, Somalia, became stranded around 180 nautical miles south of Karachi along with 18 crew members on board.

"[The] Pakistan Navy in coordination with PMSA, immediately tasked ships and aircraft to provide assistance to the stranded ship and save precious lives," it added.

The PN and PMSA aircraft after reaching the scene dropped life rafts to assist the stranded crew at sea and coordinated their recovery through a nearby merchant vessel, “MT Elan Vital”.

Up till now, the ISPR said, 15 crew members had been recovered whereas three were still missing.

"Pakistan Navy and PMSA ships are also conducting search and rescue operation for the missing crew around the reported position," the statement read.

“The Pakistan Navy, being [the] overall coordinator of NAVAREA IX, always accords priority to maritime safety and responds immediately to render assistance to shipping community in distress at sea.”

Read More: Navy, PMSA rescue crew of merchant vessel stranded off Karachi coast

The incident comes days after a vessel, MV Heng Tong 77, belonging to a Hong Kong-based shipping company, lost anchors and started drifting towards shallow waters near Karachi.

The Pakistan Navy along with other maritime stakeholders had safely completed the defuelling process of the merchant ship.

“The PN [Pakistan Navy] spearheaded and coordinated all efforts; rendered assistance to overcome challenges involved in de-bunkering process thus eliminating the risk of marine pollution,” the PN said in a tweet.

The officials of the Karachi Port Trust (KPT), PN and Maritime Security Agency (MSA) had jointly carried out the operation.

The ship was carrying 118 tonnes of bunker fuel.

Earlier, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant for Maritime Affairs Mahmood Moulvi had said that the authorities would make all-out efforts to avoid the spill of even “one drop” of oil before making a salvage attempt in the middle of next month.

On July 27, 2003, Tasman Spirit, an oil tanker, ran aground while navigating to the port of Karachi. It broke up and spilled around 30,000 metric tonnes of oil over the next few days, which is one of Pakistan’s worst environmental disasters.


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