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Tanker Fire Off Portugal; No Risk of Pollution

A photo of the Greta K on fire courtesy of the Portuguese Navy

Tanker Fire Off Portugal; No Risk of Pollution

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 7265
March 21, 2023

Update: K-Ships has issued an statement reporting that the fire was limited to the engine room and funnel, and there is no pollution risk. “Despite this difficult situation, we are proud of both our crew and shore team for how they have been handling this pressing moment,” the company said. K-Line’s full statement is at the bottom of this article.

A tanker carrying diesel and jet fuel is on fire in the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of Portugal.

The Portuguese Navy is reporting that the Lisbon Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) received a distress call at approximately 3:30 PM Tuesday concerning a fire aboard the Malta-flagged tanker Greta K. The vessel was situated about 1.5 miles off the coast, roughly 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 evacuated. The Navy reports that a pilot from APDL is already on be onboard the vessel and was guiding it towards Leixões—one of Portugal’s major seaports—when the fire started.

The Ports Administration of Douro, Leixões, and Viana do Castelo (APDL) have dispatched three tugboats to assist in battling the blaze. In addition, the Captain of the Port of Douro and Leixões sent two boats from the Leixões Life Saving Station to aid in the firefighting efforts.

At the time of reporting, the fire remained active.

Twelve crew members have been safely evacuated by boats from the Life Saving Stations of Leixões, Póvoa de Varzim, and the Local Command of the Maritime Police of Leixões. The remaining seven crew members are still on board.

The tanker is being towed to an offshore area for safety precautions.

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

In anticipation of potential pollution, Portugal’s Autoridade Marítima Nacional is preparing supplies and assembling pollution response teams. The Hydrographic Institute of the Navy is also closely monitoring the situation and ready to calculate drift patterns in case of a pollution event, the Navy said.

AIS data from MarineTraffic.com

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

AIS data from MarineTraffic.com showed the Greta K’s status as “Not Under Command” as it moves away from the coast at a speed of 2.5 knots. It shows the ship was underway from Sines, Portugal to Leixões.

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

K-Line Statement:

As disponent owners of MT Greta K (blt 2016), we, K-Ships, regrettably inform that the vessel on 21st March 2023 at 15:31 LT / 15:31 UTC has suffered a fire, in the Engine Room and Funnel, off the coast of Portugal. This occurred while the vessel was maneuvering for berthing operation at disport Leixoes.

All activities were strictly and directly coordinated by K-Ships’ shore team with Crew and Authorities.  Additionally, there was prompt assistance provided by two tug boats involved in the maneuvering operation – 1 tug boat pulling the vessel away from the Port and the coast, while the other tug boat used to extinguish the fire.

The crew, total of 19 members including the Master, acted promptly in accord to protocol and attempted to extinguish the fire in E/R, activating Co2 Fixed Plant. For Safety Reasons crew members proceeded to the Muster Station ready to evacuate the vessel. 

At the first instance, the majority of the Crew Members evacuated vessel by Search and Rescue 

The master and the remaining key Crew Members shifted onto one of the assisting tugboats in order to coordinate ongoing extinguishing activities

Fortunately, there is no risk of pollution. Despite what was stated by some websites and newscasts, the fire was limited to Engine Room and Funnel. The ship is a new building (2016) with Class notation “Green Star” – with full double hull double bottom: no cargo tank or bunker tank are in direct contact with Shell side. 

Despite this difficult situation, we are proud of both our crew and shore team for how they have been handling this pressing moment. 

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