Pakistan plans to refloat ship that ran aground near Karachi

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KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani authorities said Monday they were working on plans to refloat a cargo ship that ran aground off the coast near the southern port city of Karachi last week amid bad weather.

The Heng Tong 77 was en route to Istanbul from China when it drifted and got stuck in shallow waters Wednesday near the coast in Pakistani territory, authorities said. The event raised fears the oil being transported in the vessel could spill, potentially damaging the environment.

The management of Pakistan's Karachi Port Trust, which handles matters relating to naval traffic at the port, provided no details on how the ship will be refloated. But reports in local media said Pakistani authorities were providing support to the ship's owner, who was importing special equipment to refloat the ship.

The stuck vessel did not affect the normal movement of ships in and out of the port located near Karachi, according to a statement Sunday from the port trust.

It said environmental experts were closely monitoring the situation and a contingency plan was in place to handle any emergency.

The cargo ship is 98 meters (322 feet) in length and 20 meters (66 feet) wide and has a capacity of 36,000 deadweight tonnage. It was not immediately clear what caused the ship to drift and run aground.

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