13 rescued from burning ship in UAE

The vessel was loaded with 6,000 gallons of diesel, 120 exported vehicles and 300 vehicle tyres, reports Tehelka Bureau

Thirteen Indians onboard a burning cargo ship were rescued on May 8 by a team of quick-acting firefighters at Khalid Port in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. The vessel was loaded with 6,000 gallons of diesel, 120 exported vehicles, and 300 vehicle tyres — all of which were gutted in the massive blaze.

No casualties have been reported as the firefighters reached the site immediately and evacuated the crew members in time, Col Sami Al Naqbi, director-general of Sharjah Civil Defence was quoted as saying by the Khaleej Times.

The civil defence received information about a fire breaking out in cargo at Sharjah Creek at 6.44 am. The team reached the location within five minutes, shifted the crew to safety and contained the raging blaze in an hour, the officer said. The rescued crew was given first aid and food.

The site has been handed over to the forensic expert of Sharjah Police to probe the reason behind the fire. It was the third fire accident at the same site. Most fires have been caused due to the crew unloading the goods and storing the inflammable materials near the cooking area or under the sun.

The civil defence, in coordination with the Sharjah Police, will study the causes of the fire in these boats and carry out awareness among the crew members of all ships anchored at Khalid Port to prevent a repeat of such incidents, Al Naqbi said.

“We will train them to use the extinguisher and fire-fighting equipment to douse the blaze till the fire brigade arrives at the site so as to reduce loss of life and property,” Col Sami Al Naqbi underlined.

In a separate incident last month, an Indian Navy official died while fighting a fire that erupted on the Indian Navy’s solitary aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya. Indian Lieutenant Commander DS Chauhan tried his best to save those onboard.

According to reports, a fire erupted in the engine room of INS Vikramaditya. The ship was entering the Karwar base in Karnataka after a deployment in the Arabian Sea on April 26. An officer said that Chauhan fell unconscious due to inhaling fumes and smoke as he participated in the firefighting efforts. He was immediately taken to the naval hospital INHS Patanjali at Karwar, however did not survive, according to the report.

While further investigation into how the fire occurred is under process, social media users are highlighting Chauhan’s bravery, with hundreds sharing his picture and calling him a national hero.

Journalist and Twitter user @shreyadhoundial appreciated the selfless act: “He is 30. Just Married. Yet when a fire broke out onboard #INSVikramaditya he put duty before self, entered a smoke filled engine room and led the firefighting effort. He saved his ship and 1500 mates on board but lost his life in the process. #Rip Lt Cdr DS Chauhan.”

Whereas, user @koolvinit_india expressed his grief for the officer’s relatives: “Had married just last month. Was 30 years old. Heartbroken for the family of Lt Cdr DS Chauhan who died fighting a fire on board #INSVikramaditya on Friday.”

The official Twitter account of the Indian Navy, @indiannavy, confirmed the news of Chauhan passing away and paid tribute to the officer in series of posts: “It is with profound grief and regret that we report the sad and untimely demise of Lieutenant Commander DS Chauhan, a young colleague and a brave brother-in-arms, onboard INS Vikramaditya. He laid down his life fighting a fire in a machinery compartment.”

The entity also confirmed that due to Chauhan’s efforts, the ship’s fighting ability was preserved and no major damage was caused to the aircraft carrier.