The vessel described in the recent reports as being a “ghost” container ship with no crew or cargo near the mouth of the Gulf of Martaban, seven nautical miles from Thongwa Township in the Yangon Region of Myanmar, ran aground on August 27 according to Myanmar Maritime Authorities.
The ship is the M/V Sam Ratulangi with IMO 9151981 and it was registered under the Palau flag by the Palau International Ship Registry (PISR) on July 19, 2018 for one single voyage under tow for scrap according to the latest IMO regulations which require vessels destined for scrappage to be registered under a responsible flag. These final voyages are also subject to the same regulatory conditions as normal vessels and PISR adheres to strict codes of practice in these matters. PISR has a duty to ensure it respects and acts appropriately to the concerns and issues affecting single and final voyages. This particular vessel was unmanned and in ballast condition with no cargo on board and was under tow at the time and subsequent reports have suggested the tow line from the tugs guiding the vessel broke causing the ship to run aground.
Palau International Ship Registry was informed of the incident on Friday August 31 2018 and we immediately started an investigation with both the ship owner and ship representative in line with our comprehensive final voyage procedures. From our investigations we believe the tug carrying the subject vessel was on its voyage from Tanjung Priok in Indonesia to Chittagong, Bangladesh and apparently suffered from a tow line breakage which in conjunction with strong winds and rough seas prevented the tug crew from reconnecting the tow-line with the vessel.
Once PISR was contacted by the Myanmar Maritime Authority contacted us we acted immediately and provided them with all the necessary details regarding the vessel and its regulatory notices. Following this the representatives of the ship owner have met with the Director General (DG) of Department of Marine Administration (DMA) of Myanmar who was satisfied with the positive actions taken to manage the salvage of the ship.
Palau International Ship Registry has flagged a number of ships for final voyages and these are subject to the same high standards and due diligence during these voyages as operational vessels.