- Authorities concerned say operation will be resumed tomorrow.
- Only an abandoned ship can be taken into custody like this, shipping experts say.
- SAPM on Maritime Affairs says that the custody can be claimed under criminal shipping laws.
KARACHI: The rescue operation to free the cargo ship Heng Tong 77 from the Seaview beach has been halted, Geo News reported Wednesday.
The concerned authorities say that the operation has been suspended due to the delay in the arrival of a barge. The operation, however, will be resumed tomorrow, they added.
A three-day operation to free the vessel had finally started on Tuesday.
What do the experts say?
According to shipping experts, the orders for help should have come way before the ship was taken into custody.
Only an abandoned ship can be taken into custody like this, whereas a ship that hasn’t been given up by its owner or crew members cannot be taken into custody by the port authorities in Karachi, said the experts.
Moreover, the authorities would need an order from the court in case the ship has to be taken into custody for a different reason, such as the clearance of dues.
Besides, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Maritime Affairs Mahmood Moulvi said that the custody can be claimed under criminal shipping laws on the basis of a fault in the ship.
“There is a provision in the law for holding the ship back therefore we will not allow them to take the ship before the payment of money spent on the ship’s security and clearance of other dues,” said Moulvi.
The vessel, Heng Tong 77, had been taken into custody by the government of Pakistan and an official notification was also issued in this regard.
According to the notification, the ship has been seized by the government under the Pakistan Merchant Ordinance.
Meanwhile, experts have declared Heng Tong 77 not fit to be used for maritime purposes, read the notification.
Cargo ship stuck at Karachi’s Seaview
Panama registered MV Heng Tong 77 was anchored in Pakistan’s territorial waters off Karachi for a crew change on July 21 when it lost anchors due to rough seas and drifted towards the shore, the Karachi Port Trust had said.
The cargo ship remained stranded at Karachi’s Seaview beach for 20 days till the rescue operation was first started.