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Crew rescued from blazing oil tanker off UAE: officials

The crew of a Panamanian-flagged oil tanker were rescued when the vessel caught fire off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, authorities said Wednesday.

“The UAE authorities are working to put out a fire that broke out aboard an oil tanker 21 miles off the cost of Sharjah after receiving a distress message,” a senior UAE official said in a tweet, adding that an investigation was under way into the cause of the incident.

The Federal Authority for Land and Maritime Transport said authorities were working to put out the fire, official news agency WAM reported.

It said that swift action by UAE search teams “rescued the sailors and the crew of the ship” which was not carrying any oil when the blaze broke out, apparently sparked by an accident during maintenance operations.

A spokesman for the United States’ Fifth Fleet, headquartered in nearby Bahrain, said the force was “aware of an incident, we are monitoring the situation.”

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said it had received reports of a vessel on fire northwest of the United Arab Emirates’ emirate of Sharjah.

“This Advisory is not classified as a Maritime Security Event and has not been verified by UKMTO,” it said on its website.