Oil tanker fire: Three missing crew still believed to be alive, says MMEA

According to the authorities, the cause of the fire was still under investigation, however, there was no oil spill at the scene because the tanker was not carrying any cargo.



May 3, 2023

JOHOR BAHRU – Three crew members who were reported missing after tanker MT Pablo registered in Gabon, Africa caught fire 37.5 nautical miles northeast of Tanjung Sedili in Kota Tinggi on Monday (May 1), are believed to be still alive.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) acting director-general Vice Admiral Datuk Saiful Lizan Ibrahim said the crew had been identified as Indian nationals Satyam Tripathi, 26, and Dinesh Kumar Chauhan, 34, while the third was Ukrainian Sabit Shenderovskyi, 37.

“There is a possibility that they still survived if they were able to escape from the fire located in the middle of the ship. There may be an airtight room whereby the area may not have been affected.

“However, the amount of oxygen supply depends on the size of the room, if the size is small they may last a day, or if the room is large they may last a few days,” he said during a press conference at the Johor State Maritime Headquarters here on Tuesday (May 2).

Also present was Johor MMEA director First Admiral Nurul Hizam Zakaria.

Saiful Lizan said there were a total of 28 crew members on board the ship that reportedly caught fire at about 3pm on Monday, and 25 of them were rescued while rescuers were still trying to find the remaining three.

He said the search and rescue operation involved various sea and air assets from several agencies including the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN), Johor Marine Department and Johor Port.

“In addition, we will also seek the services of the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department’s Hazmat team to enter the ship which is still filled with smoke tomorrow in an effort to conduct a search on board, given that there is a possibility that the three may be still trapped inside,” he said.

According to Saiful Lizan, the cause of the fire was still under investigation, however, there was no oil spill at the scene because the tanker, which possessed valid travel documents, was not carrying any cargo.

On Monday, Nurul Hizam said that the tanker was reportedly on its way from China to Singapore. – Bernama

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