MMEA halts tanker rescue operation

Vessel down: Black smoke coming off the tanker after the fire. — AFP

JOHOR BARU: The operation to locate three missing crew members of oil tanker MT Pablo, which caught fire, has been suspended after a search on the vessel found no evidence of them onboard.

Johor Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) director First Admiral Nurul Hizam Zakaria said the operation, which entered its fifth day, was called off at 7pm on Friday.

He said the search and rescue operation had been suspended until new leads are found.

“The search was conducted onboard the vessel. However, there was no evidence that the three missing crew members were still on board.

“Based on the vessel’s safety assessment, the Johor Baru Maritime Rescue Sub Centre has postponed the search operation until new leads are found,” he said in a statement yesterday, Bernama reported.Nurul Hizam said the search and rescue mission had involved 31 MMEA officers and personnel, as well as 11 members from the hazardous material (Hazmat) unit of the Fire and Rescue Department.

The three missing crew members were identified after the incident as Indian nationals – Satyam Tripathi, 26, and Dinesh Kumar Chauhan, 34 – and Ukrainian Sabit Shenderovskyi, 37.

MT Pablo, which is registered in Gabon, Africa, caught fire about 37.5 nautical miles northeast of Tanjung Sedili, Kota Tinggi on May 1.

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