Friday, July 17, 2009
A Chinese ship carrying iron ore to China from New Mangalore Port today reported a distress call following bad weather. The ship was tilting over 30 degrees by evening and it might be matter of time before it capsizes. All the 18 crew members have been rescued including the captain Yang Seng Yang. According to the captain the ship MV Asian Forest was carrying 13,500 tonnes of iron ore to China and had departed New Mangalore Port on 17th morning, but when they reached some 30 nautical miles into the sea the ship had started listing (tilting) they immediately radioed back the port that they were coming back for correction of the listing. But when they were 7 nautical miles from the port the ship had already listed 28 degrees which was beyond correction at that point. The captain then sent an SOS to the port. The Coast Guard was alerted and immediately the coast guard ship went to the spot and evacuated five crew members including the captain while the other crew had managed to lower the life boats and arrive at the new Mangalore port. The ship was precariously poised even when this report was filed.According to the port officials the Hong Kong registered ship had been in the anchorrage for seven days after arriving from China on 7 July and had berthed at the port only on 14 July. After loading cargo, it had set sail on Friday morning. Later speaking to the presspersons the captain of the ship said we knew about the listing of the ship right from the first degree but the turning around at 30 nautical miles was not easy and it took away so much precious time. We investigated into the reason for listing and found out that the iron ore had inadvertently gathered some water due to the excessive rains during the berthing which had caused the tilting of the ship when it reached into the sea.The owners of the ship have already informed the slavers and a representative of the insurance company was already in Mangalore and was assessing the situation. The insurers have also claimed that the cargo and the ship will be salvaged to the extent possible and if possible the ship will also be corrected for its listing. The Coast guard had evacuated the captain and five other crew while 12 others took the life boat of the ship under the order of the captain and arrived at the new Mangalore Port. It can be recalled that Erithrian ship Den Den capsized off the Thannirbavi coast which claimed three lives while 21 sailors were rescued. In the second incident, Cheng Le Men, which was carrying iron ore to China had listed off the port after it left the port in September 2007.