Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Mohammad Amjad Khan Niazi watches the defuelling process on July 29, 2021. Image Credit: Pakistan Navy

Islamabad: The cargo ship MV Heng Tong 77 stranded at the Karachi beach has been successfully defuelled during an operation conducted by Pakistan Navy and other maritime organizations on July 29.

Fire tenders and ambulances were deployed during the de-bunkering or defuelling operation to ensure safety. The authorities decided on July 27 to defuel the ship to minimize the risks of marine pollution from oil spills as the vessel was carrying 118 tonnes of bunker fuel.

Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Mohammad Amjad Khan Niazi also carried out an aerial visit of the site at Karachi Clifton Beach to review the defuelling process of the ship. “Pakistan Navy rendered technical assistance to overcome challenges and difficulties involved in the debunking process” and safely defueled the vessel, the official statement said.

The Navy statement said that keeping in view the weather, winds, tides and other factors, the salvage operation is expected to be carried out around the middle of August. The government officials said that salvaging the cargo vessel was the responsibility of the ship’s owners and the insurance company.

The vessel, sailing under a Panama flag, was en route to Istanbul (Turkey) from Shanghai (China), and entered Pakistani waters for a change of crewmembers on July 21. It lost anchors due to rough seas and drifted towards the shore, Karachi Port Trust (KPT) said. “By the time the vessel informed KPT of her drifting, it was already in shallow waters,” the port authority said.

The ship, owned by a Hong Kong-based cargo company, is 98 metres in length and 20 metres wide. It was built in 2010 and has a capacity of 3,600 deadweight tonnage.