Pakistan Government detained MV Heng Tong 77, the container vessel that stranded at Karachi’s Seaview Beach. The Government declared the vessel as ‘unseaworthy’ and ‘dangerous’, and termed it as a threat for “human life on vessels and property”.
The cargo ship was enroute to Istanbul from Shanghai and port anchorage in Pakistan waters for a crew change. Rough waters on high seas accidentally drifted the vessel towards the shallow waters, and it entered the Karachi Harbour on July 21.
The ship was reportedly stranded at Seaview Beach for 20 days before any help came from Government authorities. Finally, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs detained the ship, and a notice issued was also shared by Federal Minister of Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi on Twitter.
“The container vessel is unable to function at sea due to a broken hull and defective navigation equipment, weak engine, and extremely poor life- saving facilities. At this state, it is a grave threat to our marine channels and to other vessels too,” Zaidi tweeted.
The notice stated that the vessel would likely get a release after a satisfactory surveillance report. The ship captain was directed to arrange for “efficient repair arrangements of the hull and equipment at the soonest”. Mahmood Moulvi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Maritime Affairs, stated that the government can claim ship custody under criminal shipping laws in case of faults on the ship. Non-clearance of dues is another reason to take a ship into custody.
The Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PSMA), Pakistan Navy, and Karachi Port Trust(KPT) collaborated and took responsibility for removing the stranded ship off the Clifton Coast. A three-day operation was commenced to free the cargo ship on Tuesday. Other than a bit of halt due to sand extraction, the operation has been a success.
The ship, MV Heng Tong 77, is owned by a Hong Kong Based Cargo Company. Built in 2010, it spans a length of 98 metres, width of 20 metres and carries a capacity of 3,600 deadweight tonnage. The emergency the vessel landed in is for the Panama Flag raised on its deck instead of the Pakistani flag. However, it caught the attention of the Pakistani authorities leading them to consider the ship to be a threat.