Muscat: MV Atlantik Confidence, the cargo ship that caught fire last Sunday, 140 nautical miles off Masirah Island, sank on Wednesday in international waters, according to a statement released to government owned Oman News Agency (ONA) by the Directorate General of Marine Affairs in the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

The vessel was on its way from Turkey to Sohar Port. It was carrying steel frames meant for the new Muscat International Airport’s project, as stated by the company in-charge of the construction of the passenger terminal buildings.

The Pollution Prevention Team at the Oman’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs has taken every step to prevent any eventuality from the sinking of the cargo ship.

The Royal Navy of Oman (RNO) ships had been sent to the accident site to assess the situation.

According to a report in the Turkey SeaNews web portal, the fire started in the engine room of the Liberian flagged MV Atlantik Confidence last Sunday.

After the ship called for assistance, Admiral Antonio Natale, Commander of the Nato Task Force engaged in the fight against piracy off the Horn of Africa, promptly ordered the nearest vessel under his command — the frigate USS Nicholas — to proceed at maximum speed and help the distressed vessel, the website reported.

The Turkish news portal said sensing that the fire was out of control, the 21 Turkish seamen abandoned the ship. A US frigate took command of the rescue operations, dispatching a helicopter to cover the 129 kilometres to the vessel and assess the immediate needs.

When the US frigate’s helicopter saved 21 crew, the merchant vessel had partially sunk. The crew were then transferred on board an oil tanker, ‘Pluto’, that was transiting in the area and manned entirely by a Turkish crew.