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Tanker blaze after collision off Dubai

A TANKER burst into flames after colliding with a container ship in a shipping channel off the coast of Dubai yesterday.

Two of the tanker's crew who were pulled from the water suffered minor injuries, said Sarah Lockie, a spokeswoman for Dubai-based port operator DP World. The blaze has been extinguished.

The inbound tanker struck a "feeder vessel," a ship that shuttles cargo containers from big ports to smaller ones, about 8 kilometers from the Jebel Ali Port, Lockie said. She said the tanker was carrying a liquid used to make plastic.

Details about damage to the ships were not immediately available. However, photos of the burning tanker taken by a sightseeing plane show what looks like substantial damage.

Fire extended from the waterline to above the top of the tanker as thick black smoke billowed hundreds of feet in the air out of a gash in the ship's hull, said Cameron Leslie, director of flight operations at Seawings air charter service in Dubai.

What looked like "viscous material" pouring from the ship also burned on top of the water, as did two other chunks of wreckage about a half mile away, he said. "To me, it looked horrific. It must've been a pretty intense fire. I wouldn't have wanted to have been on deck, mate."

Leslie said the container ship, the Sima Saba, was also on fire.

Lockie said the ships involved in the accident had been removed from the shipping channel. The tanker, Kashmir, was carrying about 30,000 tons of oil condensates from Iran to the United Arab Emirates.


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