UK Helps Rescue Crew of Sunken Tanker off Yemen

The UK Coastguard have coordinated a long range rescue after an oil tanker sank 240 miles off the coast of Yemen in the early morning hours on June 26.

The coastguard received reports of a mayday distress call issued by the oil tanker, which is registered under a Panamanian flag, reporting that it was sinking. The tanker, believed to have been carrying crude oil, is 99 meters long and had a crew of 14.

Commercial vessels nearby made their way to the tanker and recovered 12 of the 14 crew, who were wearing life jackets and immersion suits, from the water.

One crew member was recovered by a Royal Navy Rescue Helicopter and one remains unaccounted for. There is evidence that the 3,000 tonnes of oil the tanker was carrying has gone down with the vessel when it sank in gale force 8 winds and 5 metres swells.

Due to the weather conditions on scene and the oil spilled, the commercial vessels are unable to deploy their lifeboats.

“This was a desperate situation for the fourteen crewmen, who were given no other option but to jump into the sea after the tanker sank in severe weather conditions,” Steve Carson, Commander for UK Coastguard, said.

The Yemen Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) were unable to assist, so the UK Coastguard stepped in to co-ordinate the rescue, issuing a Satellite Communication Mayday relay broadcast to all shipping in the area.

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