Product Tanker Burning off Portuguese Coast

Product tanker fire
Prodcut tanker caught fire less than two miles from the coast of Portugal as it was heading into port (Marinha Portuguesa)

Published Mar 21, 2023 8:45 PM by The Maritime Executive

Portuguese authorities are working to control a fire aboard a product tanker off the coast while they are also hoping to tow the ship further out to sea. So far, the fire is believed contained in the aft end of the vessel not reaching its cargo of jet fuel and diesel and there has not been an oil leak. However, the fire is continuing to burn with spectators along the shoreline posting photos of the burning ship which is less than two miles from the coast.

The tanker Greta K (24,768 dwt) was inbound for the port of Leixões, having already boarded her pilot when the fire was reported around 3:30 p.m. Marinha Portuguesa is monitoring the situation reporting that Port Authority was able to quickly send three tugboats to the vessel. In addition, the Port Captain for Douro and Leixões sent two additional tugboats to assist.

They have evacuated 12 of the 19 Filipino crewmembers aboard the vessel. The other seven have remained aboard to assist in the firefight. Local media is reporting that the fire was contained at the stern and suspected to have started in the engine room. Black smoke is seen billowing from the stern.

The fireboats are spraying water on the aft sections of the ship while others were assigned to cool the tops of the cargo tanks. The teams are concerned that there could be a secondary ignition and trying to prevent the fire from reaching the cargo. There is no crude aboard, but they have not yet reported how much fuel the vessel is carrying or the volume of cargo aboard. 

The Greta K is registered in Malta. The vessel is seven years old, built in 2016. Equasis lists the owners as San Giorgio Del Porto of Genoa and the managers as K-Ships, also of Genoa. 

The product tanker is being used to shuttle fuel supplies from neighboring Sines to Leixões. According to the reports, the local refinery closed leaving the region dependent on tankers for their fuel supply.

Emergency teams are also standing by and prepared with pollution response equipment. Marinha Portuguesa is assisting in calculating the drift, in part to prepare in case of an oil leak from the vessel, as well as calculating the movements of the vessel. This evening it was reported that they were putting a tow line on the burning vessel in an effort to move it further out to sea.