Norwegian ship MV Osprey catches fire off UAE coast

January 30, 2020 - 0:16

An oil tanker has caught fire in the Persian Gulf near the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

Reports on Wednesday suggested that the tanker caught fire some 40 kilometers off the coast of Sharjah, a port in the UAE. Preliminary investigations indicate the fire broke out aboard the vessel as a result of an accident during a maintenance-related operation.

They said that the heavy load vessel, Norwegian ship MV Osprey, was manned when it caught fire around 4 pm local time. The number of crew was not known.

Sources told The National, an Emirati news website, that the UAE coast guard had assisted with the operation to put out the blaze and all the crew have been rescued.

The Associated Press cited US officials as saying that they were aware of the incident in the Persian Gulf, a region which has been the scene of rising tensions between Iran and the United States since Washington withdrew from an international deal on Iran’s nuclear program in 2018.

British officials also issued a warning to ships sailing in the region. The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said that it had received an email suggesting that there was a fire onboard a tanker northwest of the UAE, adding that ships should “exercise extreme caution”. 

"This Advisory is not classified as a Maritime Security Event and has not been verified by UKMTO," the report added.

The incident is the third of its kind involving boats travelling off the UAE coats in the past two weeks. On Sunday, a yacht caught fire in Dubai Marina and on January 17, a boat erupted in flames off Burj Al Arab after the vessel's engine failed and some leaked fuel ignited.

Tensions are heightened in the region, especially after the United States assassinated a senior Iranian military commander in Iraq, prompting Tehran to hit back with firing more than a dozen missiles at US military bases in Iraq.

The blaze occurred about a year after US and other Western governments blamed Iran for attacks on tankers passing through the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf or others sailing in the Sea of Oman.

Tehran has denied any involvement in last year incidents but authorities have suggested that it could close the strait -- through which a third of global seaborne oil passes -- if its interests are harmed by others.

(Source: Press TV) 

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