Ship stranded off Karachi coast refloated

Fifth attempt after seven weeks proves to be successful

​ Our Correspondents September 07, 2021


A stranded container ship on Karachi beach was finally refloated after seven weeks at the fifth successful attempt on Tuesday.

The ship, Heng Tong 77, is now heading towards deeper waters.

Seamex, a company that carried out the salvage operation, said the ship was successfully refloated at four times lower expenses than those charged by foreign firms.

The cargo ship ran aground and stuck off the Karachi's Sea View beach on July 21.

Earlier, all four attempts to salvage the ship had failed.

However, the decision to use Cobra rope, with a pulling capacity of 0.1 million tonnes, proved to be effective.

In the first phase, the bearing of the ship was corrected and the second phase involved the ship being towed to deeper waters, said Captain Asim Iqbal, the shipping agent involved in the operation.

Read More: Efforts to refloat stranded ship fail

Field boats along with crane barges and tug boats also took part in the operation.

Iqbal added that the ship was eventually towed 2.5 kilometres out to the open sea.

The shipping agent claimed that the ship was in a very good technical condition.

“The ship’s engines are also in running condition and no damage was done to it during the operation.”

He added that further steps would be taken in accordance with international maritime law.

Coastal Affairs Ministry Adviser Mahmood Moulvi said three ships could not be launched from Sea View beach earlier. They were dismantled and had to be pulled ashore.

“For the first time, a ship has been rescued safely using local capabilities – a milestone in the country’s shipping industry.”

The adviser said the ship had now floated in the deep sea and would soon be anchored at the port. “The ship has been taken into government custody. It will not be allowed to continue its journey until it’s considered safe and fit for voyage.

“All expenses including the salvage operation of the ship would be borne by its owner.”

Arif Sheikh, CEO of SeaMax, told the media that the ship was out of danger. He said using local capabilities and experience, the ship was refloated safely without damaging the coast.

“A foreign company would have charged about $2 million but we only achieved it at one-fourth of that amount,” he maintained.

However, the Karachi port refused to put the ship on a berth. The shipping agent had not requested a berth from the port earlier.

He requested a berth from the port authorities at 7 pm.

The ship was tied to a tugboat and docked at the outer anchorage.

Shipping agent Iqbal and Seamax CEO Arif claimed that keeping the ship tied to a tugboat throughout the night could be dangerous.

According to sources, the ship would be provided a berth on the morning of Wednesday (today).



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