Monday Jul 26, 2021
KARACHI: The cargo ship which has been stuck at Karachi's Clifton beach will not be able to move before August 15, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Maritime Affairs Mehmood Moulvi revealed Monday.
Speaking during a press conference alongside the Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi, Moulvi said that authorities concerned will have to siphon off the oil from the ship first so that it could be moved.
Replying to a question, the SAPM said that the port remained closed during the Eid holidays because of which work was halted, adding that when the rescue team initially reached near the ship to help it move, water had already entered the vessel.
He further said that the ship’s engine was very weak to make it work.
On the other hand, the captain of the cargo vessel has rejected the statement issued by Federal Minister Ali Zaidi and has claimed that he had made an emergency call but the authorities did not provide them with a berth.
Talking to Geo News, Umar, the captain of the cargo vessel, claimed that he made the SOS call on July 20 when the chain of one of the ship's anchors broke and sank in the sea.
The captain maintained that he had requested the authorities to provide them a berth on emergency basis as it was very difficult for him to control the vessel with only one anchor.
The second anchor had also been detached from the ship at 1:15 am on the night between July 20 and 21, he said, adding that he made the SOS call on 1:20 am.
He said that the authorities at Port Muhammad Bin Qasim and Manora were also hearing the emergency call but the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) control room did not provide them any help. The captain said that he had been told the concerned officers were in an important meeting.
He said that all the communication data was saved with them.
Meanwhile, the shipping sources said that a rescue operation to drag the ship into sea could not be started yet as the tugboats were awaiting permission.
The sources feared that the ship may be further stuck in the sand if the tugboats are not given permission. KPT sources said that the vessel’s owner had lodged an insurance claim.
The insurance claim could be worth millions of dollars, said the sources.
Geo News has obtained the audio recording of the conversation between the captain and the control tower. In the audiotape, the captain can be heard seeking help from the authorities.
“MV Heng Tong is contacting the Muhammad Bin Qasim port’s control on channel 16,” the captain sent the message thrice.
Meanwhile, the authorities directed the captain to contact on channel 10. The captain did not get any response when he contacted channel 10.
After few minutes, the captain decided to seek help from Karachi Manora control and said,” our ship is heading towards the shore and it may ground.”
The captain again asked,“ Have you heard my message?”
“Sorry we cannot help you,” the control tower replied, as per the recording.