FIRE

Oil tanker suspected of smuggling Iranian oil on fire in Malaysia: 3 members missing

An Aframax-type tanker carrying Iranian oil, the Pablo, was involved in a fire in the southern waters of Malaysia. 

Most of the crew was rescued by another tanker and the local Maritime Authority, but three members are still missing and the cause of the accident is still being investigated. 

The Pablo has had lists of owners and flags over the years, and has been suspected of smuggling Iranian oil on at least 10 different occasions since 2019, according to United Against Nuclear Iran.

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We are in southern Malaysia
About twenty hours after the fire, search and rescue operations continue for three crew members missing from an oil tanker - type Aframax - that caught fire in southern Malaysian waters. According to reports, most of the crew was rescued by another tanker in the area and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA).
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Maritime history of the ship involved in the accident
The ship involved in the accident has a particular maritime history of inspections, as it was carrying Iranian oil. Details on the cause of the fire and the whole situation are still being worked out, and scarce at the moment, but the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore has identified the tanker as the Pablo, registered in Gabon.
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Singapore authority is monitoring the rescue operation
The Singapore Authority is monitoring the rescue operation and issuing continuous warnings to mariners about the burning tanker and the search for missing seafarers. According to a statement by First Admiral Nurul Hizam Zakaria, director of the Johor Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), the Authorities received a distress call from the Gabon-registered vessel at 4pm yesterday.
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Crew: rescued and missing
The MMEA immediately sent rescue boats to the scene. Another tanker, the Enola, came to the rescue of the burning ship and managed to save 18 crew members. The MMEA reports that its rescue vessel, the Petir 12, saved two crew members and a third seafarer was rescued by another vessel. At last count, this morning's note states that 23 of the 28 crew members on board were rescued, but the crew list is still being compiled.
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A controversial history
There is no indication of how the fire started, but the MMEA images show the ship enveloped in fire and advancing along it. It is unclear whether the tanker has any cargo on board, but from the images it appears to be high above the water. The tanker was built in Japan in 1997 and its 26-year career shows a long list of owners. The Equasis database records seven names and flags from 2018, with a record number of inspections undergone without detentions.
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Iranian oil smuggling suspected
The Iranian watchdog group, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), said in its note that the ship had long been suspected of smuggling Iranian oil. The UANI group has been tracking the ship Pablo for many years. The Pablo has been suspected of transporting Iranian oil on at least 10 different occasions since the sanctions were formalised in 2019. The Pablo di is 761 feet (232 metres) long and came from Zhoushen, China, where it left on 18 April from its anchorage site in the Riau archipelago.
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