Cyprus rescues five crew after blast in oil tanker

Cyprus search and rescue teams rescued five crew members of oil tanker Athlos from the sea, transporting them to hospitals in Limassol and Nicosia, after a blast occurred on the vessel and a fire ensued.

Three of the five crew members have been discharged after having received first aid while another two suffer from serious burns and continue to be treated at Nicosia General Hospital, a Cyprus Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) press release issued on Saturday says.

In statements to the press, JRCC Commander Andreas Charalambides said that the two crew members who suffer serious burns from 30% to 70% are Indian nationals. The other three who only presented hypothermia symptoms and have been discharged are Greek nationals.

Athlos, which sails under a Maltese flag, has run aground about 1 nautical mile east from the fishing harbour of Zygi and the fire caused by the blast is under control. It had sailed from Larnaka at about 0330 hours local time heading towards Aspropyrgos port in Greece. It carried no cargo and sailed with 17 crew members on board, 7 Greeks, 9 Indians and 1 Georgian. The only fuel on board, approximately 100 tonnes, was for its own use.

It sent JRCC an urgent call for help at 0929 hours local time (0729 GMT).

JRCC activated the National Search and Rescue Plan Nearchos and sent out port and coastguard police vessels, national guard vessels, fire service’s special unit vessels and Vassiliko Terminal Services (VTS) tug and fire extinguishing vessels to help rescue the crew members and put the fire out, as well as to deal with the possibility of a fuel leak into the sea.

The fire has been placed fully under control while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Consular Department has also been briefed on the condition of the people rescued.

The Search and Rescue operation has been completed and the Fisheries and Marine Research Department now takes over coordination for the implementation of the Special National Plan Orpheus which has to do with combating any marine pollution. The Shipping Deputy Ministry and the Investigation of Nautical Accidents Committee have also been briefed, the JRCC press release says.

Source: Cyprus News Agency