Tanker fire off Portugal triggers pollution

A tanker carrying diesel and jet fuel catches fire in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Portugal, raising concerns about a possible pollution incident.

The Portuguese Navy reports that the Lisbon Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC) received an emergency call about a fire on board the Maltese-flagged tanker around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday Greta K. The ship was about 1.5 miles offshore, about 3 kilometers from Ingleses Beach in Foz do Douro, Portugal, the Navy said.

The tanker has a crew of 19 Filipino nationals, some of whom have already been evacuated. The Navy reports that a pilot from APDL is already on board the ship and steering it towards Leixões – one of Portugal’s main seaports – when the fire broke out.

The Port Authority of Douro, Leixões and Viana do Castelo (APDL) has dispatched three tugboats to help fight the fire. In addition, the captain of the Port of Douro and Leixões sent two boats from the Leixões life-saving station to assist in fighting the fire.

At the time of the report, the fire was still active.

Twelve crew members were safely evacuated by boats from the Leixões Rescue Stations, Póvoa de Varzim and the local Leixões Maritime Police Command. The remaining seven crew members are still on board.

The tanker is towed to an offshore area for safety reasons.

Its cargo consists of diesel and jet fuel, the Navy said.

In anticipation of possible pollution, the Portuguese Autoridade Marítima Nacional is preparing supplies and putting together anti-pollution teams. The Navy’s Hydrographic Institute is also closely monitoring the situation and stands ready to calculate drift patterns in the event of a pollution event, the Navy said.

AIS data from MarineTraffic.com

The Greta K is an oil/chemical tanker built in 2016 and sailing the Maltese flag. The ship has a cargo capacity by weight of 24,768 DWT.

AIS data from www.marinetraffic.com showed the Greta Ks Not Under Command status when moving offshore at a speed of 2.5 knots. It shows that the ship was bound for Leixões from Sines, Portugal.

Equassis data shows the Greta K is managed by Italy-based K-SHIPS SRL and owned by San Giorgio del Porto SPA.

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