The grounded Indonesian ship in the Myanmar waters would be removed and it is first priority of the Marine Administration Department, said U Thaung Kyaing, the Director-General of the department.
At the press conference in Yangon yesterday, he said the crew of the tugboat Independence, who were towing the vessel, are being questioned in Kawthoung to determine whether the incident was intentional or an accident.
The outcome of the questioning will be submitted to the Office of the Union Attorney-General to decide on what course of action should be further taken.
Officials of the department met the media to explain the department’s handling of the grounded container vessel MV SAM RATUIANGI grounded near the mouth of the Sittoung River, 7 miles from
Thamaseikta Village in Thongwa Township.
It was learnt from the press conference that the Ministry of Transport and Communications is required to form a committee for harboring and maintaining wrecked vessels as per Section 273 of the Myanmar Cargo Vessel Act.
U Thaung Kyaing confirmed that the aforementioned committee has been formed to represent the nation in handling the stranded vessel. He said sections 272 to 279 of the Myanmar Cargo Vessel Act explicitly states the procedures for dealing with stranded or wrecked vessels in the country’s maritime boundary, ranging from contacting the stranded vessel’s insurance company to protocols to follow when the company cannot be contacted.
The Department of Marine Administration is making sure the crew of the tugboat Independence are receiving drinking water and food rations while detained in Kawthoung, said U Thaung Kyaing.
He said the Indonesian Embassy has contacted his department to arrange a meeting with the Indonesian crew of the Independence. He added that the Indonesian Embassy will be allowed to meet the crew members after questioning has been completed, in addition to Indonesian Embassy’s notification to and approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
U Thaung Kyaing said the insurance company of the MV SAM RATUIANGI, Singapore-based First Capital, has contacted his department and will send a team of experts to Myanmar by 7 September (today). He said the task of salvaging the stranded vessel will be handled by Spica Services Pte Ltd. (Myanmar Branch Office), on behalf of First Capital.
Min Thit (MNA)