Rescue tugs awaited as leakage feared from giant ship stuck off Karachi

Statesman Report

KARACHI: Authorities said on Sunday they are waiting for salvage tugs to arrive and immediately start a rescue operation for a giant cargo ship stuck off the coast of Karachi as oil leakage is feared.

The MV Heng Tong 77, a cargo ship with a capacity of 3,600 dead weight tonnage, was on the way from Shanghai to Turkey, as it anchored in Pakistan’s territorial waters for a crew change. According to the Karachi Port Trust (KPT), it lost its anchors due to extreme weather and started drifting toward shallow waters in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

While the maritime affairs ministry started an inquiry into the incident, the ship stuck at Karachi’s Seaview beach. The KTP’s pollution control team on Sunday sealed off a part of the beach as the vessel is carrying 118 tons of bunker fuel. “We hope to start operation as soon as the rescue tugs arrive. It may start today (Sunday) or sometime tomorrow,” Shariq Amin, KPT spokesman told Arab News. “At the moment groundwork is underway to thwart any untoward incident of oil leakage.”

KPT Marine Pollution Control Rapid Response team is monitoring the site non-stop, he said, adding that the Panama-flagged vessel’s owner has sent an expert from China to help with the rescue operation.