Panama says sunken Iranian tanker had papers in order

This handout picture from the Transport Ministry of China released on January 14, 2018 shows smoke and flames coming from the burning oil tanker “Sanchi” at sea off the coast of eastern China. (AFP)
Updated 19 January 2018
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Panama says sunken Iranian tanker had papers in order

PANAMA CITY: The Iranian tanker that sank after a collision in the East China Sea, causing the worst oil ship disaster in years, had its paperwork in order, according an initial review by maritime authorities in Panama, whose flag it was sailing under.
The large tanker Sanchi (IMO:9356608) sank on Sunday after crashing into the freighter CF Crystal (IMO:9497050) and drifting ablaze for days. The ship’s crew of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis are believed to have been killed.
Fernando Solorzano, head of Panama’s Merchant Marine, told Reuters there was no initial sign that the stricken ship was in breach of any security protocols. He added, though, that investigations could take months or even years to conclude.
“It had all the valid technical certificates on board and the financial guarantees required under international agreements,” Solorzano said in an interview late on Thursday.
An international team of experts from China, Iran, Hong Kong and the crew’s home countries would be analyzing the voyage data recorder, a device that monitors the vessel’s progress, to determine the cause of the collision, he added.
Although the Sanchi was Iranian, it was registered under a Panamanian flag, a practice that has become commonplace due to the strategic importance of the Central American nation’s canal. The Panamanian registry has over 8,000 vessels on its books.
Solorzano said all vessels sailing under the flag had to comply with strict requirements. He conceded the event could adversely affect the image of the registry because it is known for having a low rate of incidents.


Taliban’s Ghazni assault sparks new Pak-Afghan tensions

Updated 18 August 2018
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Taliban’s Ghazni assault sparks new Pak-Afghan tensions

  • Pakistan’s Foreign Office says Afghanistan has not shared any evidence to support its recent allegations against Pakistan
  • Imran Khan’s idea of a soft border between Pakistan and Afghanistan may have suffered a big setback in the wake of the Ghazni attack

PESHAWAR: In the backdrop of the Taliban’s brazen assault on the southern city of Ghazni in Afghanistan, President Ashraf Ghani alleged that the bodies of the perpetrators had arrived in Pakistan, though Islamabad maintained that Kabul had not officially shared any information or evidence in this regard.
Soon after that, the Afghan president said in a fiery speech to a jirga in Ghazni: “I have a message for Pakistan. Dead bodies (of the Taliban) have arrived in (Pakistan). Peace cannot be forcefully imposed on Afghanistan. Where did they (Taliban) come from and why are they being treated in (Pakistani) hospitals?”
But Pakistan strongly rejected reports claiming that some Taliban fighters involved in the Ghazni attack had been offered medical treatment in its hospitals.
In the absence of any official communication through regular channels established bilaterally, such reports cannot be given any credence, said Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday.
Haq Nawaz, a senior Peshawar-based security analyst, told Arab News that the newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan faced a string of daunting challenges, such as economic revival, political stability, tackling corruption, and improving relations with his country’s immediate neighbors.
However, he added that recent developments in Afghanistan, where the Taliban have stepped up violent activities, will probably constitute a much bigger predicament for the new political administration.
He recalled that Khan had mentioned in his victory speech that he wanted a European Union-style soft border with Afghanistan, claiming that the idea had seemingly received a setback after the Ghazni attack.
“The latest bout of allegations will have a negative impact on the process of reviving good relations between the two neighboring countries,” Nawaz noted.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa also expressed “deep concern” over the recent surge in violence in Afghanistan and lamented in a statement released by the military’s media wing the loss of precious lives.
Bajwa reiterated that Pakistan was not supporting terrorist activities inside Afghanistan. He added that the allegation about the movement of injured or dead terrorists from Ghazni to Pakistan was incorrect.
However, the army chief noted that there were scores of Pakistanis working in Afghanistan, and that some of them periodically fell victim to acts of terrorism along with their Afghan brothers inside Afghanistan. “Terming such victims as terrorists is unfortunate,” he maintained.
Yet, the Afghan president sought an explanation from Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership on the Ghazni attack.
“Imran Khan, you are the son of Pashtun parents. Investigate this and give me an answer. General Bajwa, you have repeatedly given me assurances over phone calls that special attention would be given to the issue of peace in Afghanistan once elections took place in Pakistan. Now give me an answer,” Ghani said while addressing a group of tribal elders attending the jirga.
Bajwa said that different factions of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan hiding in their sanctuaries in Afghanistan after assuming Afghan identities, were transported to Pakistan for medical help after receiving injuries.
Nawaz said the Afghan government should share relevant evidence with Pakistan in this case, arguing that using the media or social media to deal with such serious and sensitive developments can worsen the situation.
He said it was not just a statement or allegation from an ordinary official since the claim was made by a head of state, adding that both countries should settle such teething issues through dialogue and diplomatic channels.
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted in its statement: “Such reports can only be viewed as malicious propaganda to vitiate the existing cooperation between the two countries.”