fire on board ship 01
Image Credit: WAM

What we know so far

  • Fire hit the empty oil tanker at about 21 miles off the UAE coast
  • Initial reports say the fire was triggered by maintenance-related work
  • Ship is carrying the Panamanian flag
  • UAE rescue teams responded following distress call made by ship's crew

A fire erupted on board an oil tanker off Sharjah, an official tweeted on Wednesday.

UAE authorities responded to a distress call and rescued the tanker's crew.

“Federal Transport Authority – Land & Maritime (FTA) stated that the UAE authorities are working to put out a fire that broke out aboard an oil tanker 21 miles off the cost of Sharjah after receiving a distress message. A proper investigation is in progress,” tweeted Jaber Al Lamki, Executive Director of Media and Strategic Communications, National Media Council.

The Federal Transport Authority said Wednesday all concerned departments were working to extinguish the fire, which broke out onboard an unloaded Panamanian-flagged tanker.

“Teams of rescue and emergency response at ports started providing the necessary help once they received the distress call and rescued the tanker’s crew,” the Authority said in a statement.

The Federal Transport Authority confirmed the tanker is “not loaded with any oil shipments and early reports attribute the incident to an accident during maintenance operations.”

Videos and images of the vessel were tweeted by several users on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear the vessel belonged to which country. Some tweets stated the vessel was carrying the Panamanian flag.

Initial reports state that the fire, which erupted at around 4pm on Wednesday (January 29, 2020), was triggered by maintenance-related work.

It was not immediately clear how many crew members were rescued or what caused the fire.