x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Fuel ship sinks off Sharjah

All five crew members were rescued uninjured.

SHARJAH // A ship carrying diesel to Sharjah sank about 500 metres from Hamriya Port around midday yesterday, but all five crew members were rescued uninjured, port officials said.

The ship started having technical problems 10 nautical miles from shore, officials said. When attempts to repair the ship failed, the captain contacted Hamriya port officials for help.

The captain told the port's control unit that the ship's engines were struggling. Later, he told them he had lost control of the steering and the vessel had started sinking.

The control unit notified the coastguard, which rescued the five Indian crew, officials said. The vessel sank completely, leaving small traces of oil in the water.

After ensuring that the crew were in good health, authorities took them into police custody to help with the investigation into how the ship had sunk.

Port sources said the ship was owned by a local company. According to the Ministry of Environment, no fuel had leaked.

It is the second ship to have sunk in less than six months. The White Whale, which was also carrying a diesel cargo, sank in October about 16 kilometres off the Umm Al Qaiwain coast.

Nine of its crew were arrested and referred to public prosecution on charges of overloading the vessel.

ykakande@thenational.ae