NO: DELENG / 2017 / 70663
official media partner of national maritime foundation
The "Shadow" tanker fire off Malaysia has been put out, but the search continues.
By Seaandcoast | 04/05/2023
Although the fire on the Aframax crude oil tanker Pablo has been put out, Malaysian authorities say it is still too dangerous to board the vessel today to begin their investigation and search for three crew members who have gone missing. Investigations are also revealing the vessel's shadowy operations at the same time. According to Lloyd's List, the vessel has been registered under four different names, flags, and owners over the past four years. Since 2018, seven names and owners have changed ownership in the Equasis database, flying under the flags of Cameroon, Cook Islands, Tanzania, and Gabon as of April of this year.
The Russian captain of the vessel described the situation, stating that he had discovered a fire amidships early on Monday during a press conference in Malaysia. He claimed that the vessel was shaken, windows were broken, and the majority of the communications systems were rendered inoperable after the initial discovery of smoke was followed by one or more loud explosions.
The captain stated to NST TV in Malaysia, "The fire on the upper deck destroyed our aerial, and none of the communication equipment was functioning." I needed to utilize the walkie talkie … I at long last reached out to our designer by means of the walkie talkie however by then the entirety of our security boats were annihilated."
The desperate crew, according to the captain, had put on their life jackets and gone into the water. Fortunately, two ships were nearby to help with the rescue. He said in the disarray with the team heading down all paths it had been outside the realm of possibilities for him to get a head count. He claimed that the wind was also spreading the fire.
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) initially stated that 23 members of the crew had been rescued; however, the number later increased to 25, with three missing. Two are deck fitters and the third is the boat's staff official. The officer is Ukrainian, and the two deckhands are Indian. Four crew members were being treated in a hospital for serious injuries to their hands, legs, and body.
According to the MMEA, the search area has been divided into four zones and expanded to 71 nautical miles. 136 people are searching with an aircraft and nine vessels total. They believe there is no immediate danger to vessels nearby and report that no oil leak has been detected, despite the fact that the area surrounding the burned-out tanker has been sealed off.
Authorities said something like 50% of the vessel midship has been annihilated. The fuel tanks have been ripped out, and parts of the deck are hanging off the side of the vessel. Experts believe that multiple explosions were caused by a buildup of fumes in the tanks that were not vented.
The vessel is scheduled to be boarded on Wednesday by a hazardous materials team. The captain is suggesting that the three crew members may still be trapped aboard the vessel by being sealed off in airtight rooms. The group will scan the boat and search for the reason for the fire.