Image: Oil spill after tanker collision
Seawings Dubai via Reuters
Oil spill from a tanker off the coast of Dubai after two ships collided on Tuesday. Industry source ay the vessel was carrying around 30,000 tonnes of oil condensates.
updated 2/10/2009 12:37:18 PM ET 2009-02-10T17:37:18

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

Two of the tanker's crew who were pulled from the water suffered minor injuries but no one died, 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 five miles 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 and provided to The Associated Press show what looks like substantial damage on the port, or left, side of the tanker.

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 witness Cameron Leslie, a pilot and 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," Leslie said. "I wouldn't have wanted to have been on deck, mate."

Leslie, whose company provided the photos, said the container ship was also on fire.

Police helicopters and boats along with the Emirates Coast Guard and the port's emergency response division assisted in the rescue efforts, officials said.

Lockie said the ships involved in the accident have been removed from the shipping channel, where traffic has returned to normal.

The Maltese-flagged tanker, Kashmir, was carrying about 30,000 tons of oil condensate, according to Stephen Olley of the Lloyd's Marine Intelligence Unit in Britain. It was headed from Iran to the UAE.

Emirates state news agency WAM identified the container ship as the Sima Saba. However, Jim Wilson of shipping magazine Fairplay said the ship was the Sima Saman, a Singapore-flagged vessel owned by Dubai-based company Simatech Shipping LLC.

Simatech could not be reached for comment. The ship's destination was not known.

Jebel Ali is located on the southwestern end of Dubai and is the bigger of two major ports in the city. It is run by DP World, the world's fourth-biggest port operator, which is 80 percent owned by the government of Dubai.

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Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Collision causes fire at sea


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