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One Missing in Offshore Vessel Fire off Sarawak

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Image via social media

By MarEx 2018-04-17 15:57:00

At 0300 hours Tuesday morning, a fire broke out on the survey vessel Geos off Kuala Baram, Sarawak. Local media report that an explosion in the ship's engine room sparked the blaze. 

36 crewmembers were safely rescued, two were injured in the fire and one remains missing, according to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA). Crewmember Muhammad Hafiz Ismail sustained burns covering about 20 percent of his body, and his crewmate Khairul Isma Ismail suffered facial injuries. Both were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. The missing seafarer has not yet been identified. 

The MMEA ships Penggalang 23 and KM Siakap are engaged in the search, along with the OSV Hisyam 8 and the Neoptro 18. AIS data received Tuesday evening also showed the Geos attended by the OSVs Perdana Ranger and Perdana Frontier. 

Captain Md Fauzi Othman, the MMEA district director, told media that the fire has been extinguished abovedecks but the vessel is still burning inside. The smoke has made it challenging for rescuers to enter the ship to search for the missing crewmember, he said. 

In a statement, oil and gas company Petronas said that the Geos was chartered from owner Asian Geos, and was conducting a geotechnical survey about 15 nm off the coast of Baram at the time of the incident. The state-owned oil company is coordinating with the MMEA in the search and rescue effort. "Petronas has always placed the safety aspect of its employees and operating areas at the highest priority level," a company spokesman said.

The Geos (referred to in local media as the Ocean Geos) is a 2009-built specialty offshore vessel designed for geotechnical survey drilling. She is flagged, owned and operated in Malaysia, and she has no record of port state control inspection deficiencies.