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Heng Tong 77 Salvage operation suspended till Sept 8

The stranded ship to stay until next month

SAMAA | - Posted: Aug 26, 2021 | Last Updated: 5 months ago
Posted: Aug 26, 2021 | Last Updated: 5 months ago

Photo: File

The operation to salvage the run aground ship Heng Tong 77 at Sea View Beach in Karachi has been suspended till September 8.

The weather has become a major obstacle in rescuing the stranded ship. Last night, officials had worked hard in preparation to resume the operation on Thursday morning but the low tide did not allow them to continue.

Ayan ship breakers’ swimmers had tied the ship with two slings. The Endeavour tug and Harbor tug were away at 1200m and 2200m. Suddenly high waves and strong winds broke one of the slings, halting the operation.

Earlier, officials had completed the first part of the operation by refloating the ship near the beach but failed in the second phase to move it away from the shore. Now it is expected that the ship will be able to move to the deeper waters by next month.

Heng Tong 77 ship was en route to Istanbul from China when it drifted and run aground near the beach on July 18. The 98 meters (322 feet) long ship carried cargo and it had stopped at Karachi to change crew.

Since the ship was stranded in too shallow waters, it was not possible to run its engines, which implied it had to rely on external power to move. Consequently, several rescue attempts failed.

On Monday, the authorities launched a new operation. A tugboat and a crane pulled the ship away from the shore.  “The vessel moved as much as 100 metres and will be moved another 150 meters by tomorrow (Tuesday),” shipping agent Captain Asim told journalists.

The ship will be able to sail independently once it is at least 600 meters back into the sea.

New dilemma

As soon as the ship began to refloat on Monday, Prime Minister’s Advisor at the Ministry of Maritime Affairs Mahmood Maulvi arrived at the beach and announced that the ship would not be allowed to depart from Karachi unless it paid all the charges and obtained the seaworthiness certificate.

On August 11, the ministry of Maritime affairs issued an order to detain the ship because it had been declared “unseaworthy” and a risk to Karachi.

Mahmood Maulvi said on Monday that the operation to salvage the ship had been completed but the vessel was under government detention and would be made to pay all the charges and seek clearance from the mercantile department.

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Heng Tong 77, stranded ship in Karachi

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