ISLAMABAD - Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) has hushed up August 17 ship collision incident that caused structural damage to one of three operational berths of countrys first deep water seaport, TheNation has reliably learnt on Wednesday. Sources privy to these developments revealed that GPA had allowed the Panama flagged merchant ship Sheng Meng Hong 7 that hit and damaged the RO-RO jetty to leave the harbour, which shipping experts believed was tantamount to diminish the tangible evidence. By permitting the ship in question to leave the harbour, the GPA has not only absolved the ship owners from their responsibility but actually covered up unprecedented collision, a source said. However, the GPA has rejected these allegations terming them as unfounded and said that inquiry into collision incident was still in progress and punitive action would be taken against those found guilty. We want to continue port operations. It was the port operator, the Singapore Port Authority, that allowed the ship in question to leave, GPA Chairman Aslam Hayat told TheNation. He was of the view that action would be taken against those found responsible in the inquiry being conducted by the Mercantile Marine Department (MMD). He said that MMD had initiated inquiry into the incident as a result of GPA complaint to director general ports and shipping on August 21, and hoped that those held accountable by the MMD would be taken to task. However, leading shipping experts were not convinced by these arguments, saying the port authority had absolved itself from the primary responsibility by allowing the vessel to leave port amid the inquiry. They said that the mysterious ship collision had caused serious structural damage to the blocks supporting piles of the said jetty, besides causing partial damage to its centre line including the horizontal fenders. While the GPA, which is primarily responsible to secure the ports assets, has failed to order an expert inspection to assess the losses. RO-RO berth was hit and damaged when a Panama flagged merchant ship Sheng Meng Hong 7 was being shifted from berth 1 to 3 to discharge imported fertiliser consignment at 1930 hours PST on August 17 last. It was a routine incident that has been mishandled and blown out of proportion by certain vested interest, Chief Executive Officer of Singapore Port Authority, Khurram Abbas, told TheNation. He also questioned the customs authority to detain any ship that had been cleared by the port manager and operator.