MV Suez crew shifted to Pak warship PNS Babar
Islamabad: The MV Suez’s 22-member crew, including six Indians, were on Sunday transferred to a Pakistani warship when the Egyptian merchant vessel, which was recently released by Somali pirates after payment of ransom, began taking on water in the Arabian Sea.
MV Suez was on its way to the Omani port of Salalah when it ran out of fuel and began taking on water in stormy weather, Geo News channel quoted its sources as saying.
On getting a call for assistance, Pakistan Navy chief Admiral Noman Bashir ordered the vessel’s crew to be shifted to the frigate PNS Babar, which was escorting it.
The Egyptian owners of the Suez had abandoned its crew and the vessel.
The Suez’s captain had also opened the vessel’s valves to scuttle it, the channel reported.
The ship’s crew was transferred to the PNS Babar this afternoon, the channel said.
It was yet to be decided whether the crew, including the Indians, would be brought to Karachi or Gwadar port in Pakistan, navy sources were quoted as saying.
Earlier, the captain of the Suez appealed to Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry and the naval chief for immediate help as he feared the vessel would capsize after being caught in strong winds.
MV Suez Captain Syed Wasi Hasan said on phone that the weather had turned threatening due to the monsoons.
“We were on the open seas for the past three days. The owner of the ship has thus far not sent any fuel,” he said. Mr. Hasan said he had appealed to Pakistan authorities to save the lives of his crew.
Pakistan and India have exchanged angry charges over an incident allegedly involving PNS Babar and the Indian warship INS Godavari.
Pakistan alleged the Indian warship had brushed against Babar and carried out “dangerous manoeuvres”.
India responded by saying that the Pakistani warship was responsible for the incident.