HCM CITY — Work to tow a Vietnamese cargo ship whose steering broke down in Indian waters last week and has since been drifting has been delayed over an insurance dispute.
Phan The Vuong, director of the Hai Phong-based Anh Son Shipping Trading Co Ltd, which owns the Anh Son, told the media on Thursday that his company has hired an Indian rescue company to tow the ship to port but the ship's insurer has refused to pay the towing cost.
The Indian port of Kolkata wants a guarantee from the insurer before it will allow the vessel to be towed in.
The towing cost is estimated at US$250,000, Vuong said.
The unidentified insurer has refused to foot the bill saying the cause of the accident is an "unexpected fault" and not covered by insurance.
The ship owner is continuing to negotiate with the insurer for the guarantee, while the Viet Nam Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC Viet Nam) is co-ordinating efforts with relevant Vietnamese and Indian agencies to speed up the rescue.
According to MRCC Viet Nam, the 4,374 DWT Anh Son was carrying wood from Hai Phong to India when its steering system broke down 32 nautical miles off the coast of India on June 26.
The ship, with 15 crew, has been drifting in rough seas since.
On Tuesday at the request of MRCC Viet Nam, its Indian counterpart in Chennai sent planes and rescue vessels to the distressed ship, and reported it was 30 nautical miles off the coast, and the crew were safe and in normal health.
On Thursday it said it had deployed support facilities around the stricken ship.
Anh Son reported that its crew had had to eat porridge for the last two days and that their health was not very good. — VNS