The vessel was in a dangerous position after the accident as it heeled over, posing a serious threat to vessel movements to and from the country’s premier port, Alam said.

If the ship sank in the bay, all of the ship’s movement passage to port could have been blocked, he said.

underwater repair

It was reported that the ship’s No. 4 and No. 5 holds were flooded due to an underwater puncture and containers loaded in the holds were hit, said Samudera Shipping Line, the city’s charterer. de Haian, in a statement on April 19.

“Due to a lack of safe access, the extent of damage to the containers cannot be determined. A Board of Inquiry is being formed under the Bangladesh Shipping Office to investigate the cause of the incident of collision in order to assess the losses and determine the responsibilities.

The collision created a relatively smaller hole in the port hull plate, but the main damage was done underwater, said Md Golam Sarwar, president of Prantik Bengal Salvage and Diving.

Md Golam Sarwar, President of Prantik Bengal Salvage and Diving.

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Md Golam Sarwar, President of Prantik Bengal Salvage and Diving.

A large 22ft by 26ft hole in the hull was causing the main damage to the ship, he said.

The holes were repaired by welding a massive 33ft by 40ft patch of steel while diving underwater, Sarwar said.

Clockwise from top left, 1) Workers prepare the 33ft x 40ft steel patch which was welded to the body of MV Haian City. 2) The steel patch is seen just before being attached to the 172 meter container ship. 3) The inside face of the patch. 4) The patch is seen after the completion of repair work. Photo: collected.

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Clockwise from top left, 1) Workers prepare the 33ft x 40ft steel patch which was welded to the body of MV Haian City. 2) The steel patch is seen just before being attached to the 172 meter container ship. 3) The inside face of the patch. 4) The patch is seen after the completion of repair work. Photo: collected.

Welding was complex, so ex-marine engineer Sarwar took up underwater salvage and repair.

Complexities other than salvage, repair

The Chittagong Port Authority wanted to ship the loaded export containers by another vessel, but was unable to because the Vietnam-based ship-owning company Hai An Transport and Stevedoring Joint Stock Company said General Average or GA.

On April 28, the shipowner declared GA and appointed the Asia Pte Ltd Marine Claims Office as general average adjuster, Samudera Shipping Line said.

Grand Averaging is a long-established procedure in the marine industry to fairly distribute extraordinary losses and expenses between the parties (i.e. ship and cargo) involved in the event of an accident, according to the Danish shipping giant Maersk.

Finally back in action

More than two months after the accident, the ship was certified as seaworthy or fit for sea voyage by an international classification society.

It left Karnaphuli Graving Dock for Singapore on June 21 and is expected to reach its destination by June 29, according to another statement from Samudera released on June 21.

Samudera also said that the city of Haian has completed its temporary repair and obtained approval for a single trip to Singapore.

The vessel is due to depart Singapore after the cargo is fully unloaded for permanent structural repair in dry dock, the statement said.

What the experts say about recovery work

The local salvage company certainly did a great job in salvaging the badly damaged vessel, said Captain Md Anam Chowdhury, president of the Bangladesh Merchant Marine Officers’ Association (BMMOA).

“If Prantik wasn’t there, we had to bring in expertise and logistics from abroad to save the ship,” he said.

Giving an example, the senior captain said that about 10 years ago a huge ship brought to the scrapyard ran aground at the outer anchorage of the harbour.

Modern heavy tugs had to be brought in from abroad then to salvage the vessel, he said.

More than 15 salvage companies are currently engaged in salvage operations on inland waterways, he said.

“Only Prantik performs ocean vessel salvage operations in Bangladesh.”

Here, Chowdhury recommended the government provide political support to equip other salvage companies so that they can rescue ocean-going vessels.

“The salvage operation not only saved the vessel but also exported cargo worth Tk 800 crore which could be a permanent impediment to shipping,” BSAA Chairman Syed said. Ms Arif.