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Offshore Support Journal

Tugs tackle fatal fire on oil exploration ship

Tue 17 Apr 2018 by Martyn Wingrove

Tugs tackle fatal fire on oil exploration ship
Tugs tackle fire on oil exploration vessel Geos off Kalimantan (credit: Fleetmon)

At least four tugs were tackling a severe fire that engulfed an oil exploration ship off Indonesia that left at least one crew member missing and injured others.

An explosion in the engineroom of oil research ship Geos on 17 April caused a fire and evacuation 10 km off Kuala Baram, near the Malaysia Brunei border. Of the 38 crew on board, 37 were rescued and the other is missing. Two of the rescued had burn injuries.

Tugs were dispatched to douse the flames. According to Vesseltracker, Miri District maritime director sent Sinabawang Nabed 23 and Siakap to the burning ship. They were assisted by offshore vessels Hisyam 8 and Neopetro 18 at the accident. These vessels were able to extinguish the fire outside Geos, but reports suggest the fire was still burning inside the engineroom which made it too dangerous for salvors to board.

Tugs have also been involved in ship accidents over the weekend in Africa and the Middle East. In South Africa, tug Inyalazi was accidently pinned to a berth in Durban harbour by car carrier CSCC Asia. The ship had a pilot on board at the time and hit the tug on its starboard side, pushing it against the pier.

Inyalazi suffered significant damage but the car carrier was virtually undamaged and was able to leave Durban on 14 April for Luanda, Angola. Inyalazi, which was not in service at the time of the accident, was holed on the starboard side and flooded.

Another tug, Umbilo, was deployed with a salvage pump to drain the water and divers were sent to prevent more water entering. A second tug, Uthukela was deployed to tow Inyalazi away from the pier and to a repair yard.

In Iraq, a floating crane broke loose from a tug and crashed into a product tanker. The accident in Khor al Zubayr port caused a breach in tanker Tian E Zuoís hull, according to Fleetmon. This ship was in ballast at the time of the accident on 13 April, after which it sailed to Port Rashid Dubai for repairs.

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