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LPG Carrier Catches Fire and Evacuated off Iran

LPG tanker fire
LPG tanker White Purl lists off the coasto f Iran (Iranian Republic News Agency)

Published Aug 11, 2023 11:39 AM by The Maritime Executive

Iranian media is reporting that firefighting teams have been able to control a fire aboard an LPG tanker anchored at its port of Assaluyeh in the southern province of Bushehr. The media is showing pictures of the vessel burning while reporting that 22 crewmembers were evacuated without injury.

The White Purl was built in 1972 in Norway and like all vessels involved with the Iranian petrochemical and energy industry is a bit shadowy. TankerTakers.com issued an update confirming the identity and location of the vessel although they reported it had been spoofing its AIS signal at the time of the fire. The signal showed the vessel hundreds of miles away from the location Iran was reporting for the firefighting incident.

Management of the vessel is listed as a company based in the UAE. The flag is Panama with some reports indicating Iran might have acquired the vessel in 2012.

 

 

The Iranian media reports are saying the vessel arrived at the anchorage on August 9 and was due to load a cargo of LPG, although it is unclear how much cargo was aboard. Some reports are saying 40 tons while others said 40,000 tons while the vessel’s listed capacity is only 12,000 cbm.

A port official was quoted as saying the vessel maintained 40 tons aboard for cooling operations inferring the loading had not begun. He however said a fire mile zone had been established around the ship due to the danger of explosion.

The fire was reported Thursday afternoon, August 10. The port official told the media that four of the port authority’s vessels were responding to the fire along with four private tugs. The Iranian Navy was also reported to be monitoring the situation.

The White Purl assumed a heavy list forcing the authorities to suspend the firefighting operation. Today they are reporting the vessel has been stabilized and they are letting the fire burn itself out. They are saying the fire began in the engine room although pictures show the flames midships  on deck.

 

Port officials surveying the damage (Fars MediaCC BY 4.0)