Salvage of sunken container feeder ship begins in Bangladesh

The salvage of domestic feeder container ship Pangaon Express (IMO 8662309) started in the Bay of Bengal on July 16th, 10 days after it capsized near Bhasan Char, Noakhali (IMN July 10th). Sea Glory Shipping Agencies had chartered the vessel. It has recruited locally based PS Salvage to handle the recovery of containers and ship, which sank while carrying its capacity of 96 containers from Chattogram port to Pangaon Inland Container in Keraniganj.

The ship, which was moving containers coastally and inland in Bangladesh, lost stability and on July 6th. The port authority reported that everyone was evacuated safely and that a salvage operation was underway.

The Pangaon Express is a 19-year-old vessel that was being used to transfer containers from the Bangladesh seaport of Chattogram along the coast and 157nm inland on the Meghna River to the Pangaon Terminal near the capital city of Dhaka. Apparently on July 6th, shortly after departing Chattogram at around 04:00 local time, it encountered heavy seas in the area near Bhasan Char island and the Sandwip Channel before reaching the river. The weather service had been warning of slight turbulence, but according to reports the Pangaon Express experienced strong winds and rolling seas as well as the tide. The captain reportedly attempted to navigate toward the coast. The vessel issued a distress call at around 11:00 and the 12 crewmembers and two people from the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority were evacuated aboard a fishing boat. They were safely transferred to shore. The containers aboard the vessel shifted with reports saying three were lost overboard.

Three containers from the vessel fell into the water. PS Salvage said that its first task would be to recover the containers, after which the wreck itself will be raised. Chattogram Port Authority will cooperate by providing tugs to transport various vehicles and equipment to the scene, including a 150 tonne crane and a barge. The Pangaon Express was reported to have been carrying 33 containers for Maersk Line, 32 for MSC, nine for All Ports, six for CMA CGM, three for OOCL, 10 for CSI and three for Maxicon. Although A committee formed to investigate the accident was asked to submit a report within 10 working days, they were reported not yet to have visited the accident site due to a lack of necessary logistics support.

2004-built, Bangladesh-flagged, 2,195 gt Pangaon Express is owned by Chittagong Port Authority care of manager Summit Alliance Port ltd of Dhaka, Bangladesh.