Abandoned MV Suez confirmed sunk

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Muscat, Oman Jun 22: MV Suez which was held captive for ten months by Somali pirates and then released, sank on Jun 20, confirmed a government official.

“I can confirm that the MV Suez sank in 4,900 meters of water, which means that it poses no threat to shipping or navigation in the area. Furthermore, as the vessel had completely run out of fuel prior to its sinking, there is no risk of any oil spill or pollution that may harm the marine environment or Dhofar"s shores," said Sayyid Sulaiman bin Mohammed al Busaidy, Commander, multi-sectoral Task Force on Pollution, Oman and Superintendent General, Pollution Control at the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA).

“There was no engine oil or any hydrocarbons left on board when it sank. It appears the pirates had siphoned off much of the diesel fuel and ransacked the ship of anything valuable. In the end, the Suez was reduced to a ghost ship with only ballast water," he said.

The crew members from the sinking ship MV Suez were shifted to PNS Babur, which was escorting the vessel to Oman port as it had run out of diesel and caught in strong winds.

“Let us keep in mind that the incident occurred outside Oman"s territorial waters. The captain is the master of his ship and can take any decision he deems appropriate in the circumstances," when questioned crew members hand in the vessel's sinking.

"If scuttling indeed was the case, then we support the decision – strictly from the safety standpoint. This was a ship adrift with no lights, no navigation aids, and so on. Given the risks to shipping and navigation from such a floating threat, the best outcome was in its sinking," he added.

On asking about the need to safeguard the coastline in Oman, Sayyid Sulaiman said, “Given Oman"s geographical proximity to Somalia, and the trend of pirated ships to seek safe harbour in Salalah, we need to look into the need for suitable response mechanisms. For example, we could have tugboats standing by to provide assistance to distressed ships or those short on fuel as they approach Omani waters. Distressed ships abandoned as a result can possibly end up on Oman"s shores with potentially horrendous consequences. We need to take measures to protect our coastlines and shipping lanes from potential contingencies stemming from the piracy problem."

MV Suez, an Egyptian-owned ship with Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and Egyptian sailors on board, was captured by the Somali pirates. The sailors, who were captured on board of the MV Suez were released by pirates after paying a huge ransom - 2 million dollars by Pakistani human rights activist, Ansar Burney.

According to media reports, the crew of MV Suez including six Indians, will go to Karachi port, Pakistan after stranding on high sea due to bad weather.

OneIndia News

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