VLCC Desh Vaibhav's Missing Crewmembers Rescued
On Wednesday, the Shipping Corporation of India reported that all the crewmembers who abandoned the VLCC Desh Vaibhav after a tank explosion have reboarded the ship, and she will soon be headed for port. SCI asserted that she is now "fully manned and operational." As of Wednesday evening, the vessel's AIS signal showed her not under command and drifting in the Gulf of Oman, 75 nm off Muscat.
At 0935 hours on Tuesday, the Vaibhav suffered an explosion in a cargo tank. The fire was quickly extinguished with assistance from the Omani Navy, but three individuals were left missing and one was flown ashore for medical treatment. Conflicting accounts of the crew's status emerged Wednesday: SCI said in a statement that two casualties were reported and "sent ashore," and it said that one injured crewmembers is currently being treated at a hospital in Muscat. However, UAE media reported Wednesday that three crewmembers were rescued by good samaritan ships and had been hospitalized.
"Three sailors of this vessel were picked up from the sea by other vessels that were sailing past and now they are being treated here in Oman," a government spokesperson told the UAE outlet The National.
Another SCI vessel, the tanker Desh Shakti, is currently under investigation by Indian authorities for suspected involvement in a hit-and-run collision with a fishing boat off the coast of Kerala. The incident left five fishermen dead and seven missing, and authorities believe the number of confirmed fatalities could rise once the wreck of the boat is examined. The Shakti's master and two crewmembers have been detained in connection with the accident.