It has been a busy week for emergency responders with ships sinking, drifting and grounding, putting seafarers in harm’s way
General cargo ship Kanchan was drifting in the Arabian Sea between Gulf of Khambhat and Mumbai, India after engine failure. Nearby ship Hermeez, with assistance from India’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) and coast guard, rescued 12 crew from Kanchan.
MRCC Mumbai received information from India’s Directorate-General for Communication Centre on 21 July that Kanchan was stranded off Umargam due to engine failure. Indian Coast Guard said this was due to fuel contamination rendering the ship’s propulsion non-operational and leaving Kanchan with no electrical power on board. MRCC Mumbai activated the International Safety Net to identify all the vessels in the vicinity of Kanchan to assist. Hermeez was in the vicinity and immediately diverted towards the distressed vessel. It rescued the 12 crew in 3.5 m waves and winds gusting up to 50 knots.
In Pakistan, cargo ship Heng Tong 77 ran aground on a beach near Karachi after drifting in rough weather, according to Karachi Port Trust (KPT). It was anchored off Karachi for a crew change when its anchors failed, and it started drifting.
KPT said “Due to extreme rough weather, the vessel lost anchors and started drifting towards shallow waters in the early hours of the morning.” Heng Tong 77 has not impacted the KPT navigation channel, but is seen as a pollution risk. “Salvaging the vessel is the responsibility of the shipowner,” said the port authority. “All consequential marine and environmental damage will be on account of the owner. Operational and technical assistance is available to the shipowner,” said the KPT.
Also on 21 July, tugs and patrol vessels were deployed to assist general cargo ship Maxima as it started listing in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Maxima was berthed in Waalhaven when it developed a heavy starboard side list and suffered water ingress in cargo hold.
The situation was brought under control when water pumps were sent on board with assistance of harbour tugs.
On 19 July, at least 16 people were missing, feared dead, after Liberia-registered Niko Ivanka sank off Liberia. Some of the survivors were rescued by Liberian Coast Guard, including one person who was afloat for more than two days after the sinking. Niko Ivanka was allowed to sail from Monrovia after a detention order was lifted in error. There were reports of 28 people on board, with 12 rescued.
On 28 April 2021 Niko Ivanka was detained for operating with expired certificates. Liberia’s National Port Authority and Coast Guard notified vessel owners it was not fit to go to sea. But on 17 July it did, with fatal results.
Off Yemen, an abandoned tanker sank causing an environmental issue and navigation hazard. Unmanned Dia sank on 18 July outside the port of Aden, causing an oil leak. Authorities are trying to prevent further spread of an oil slick from the sunken tanker and recovering the existing pollution.
Video from Indian Coast Guard showing rescue of 12 crew from Kanchan by Hermeez twitter.com/i/status/1418026148978515972