DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A blaze aboard an oil tanker last week off the United Arab Emirates’ sheikhdom of Sharjah killed at least four people, an Indian diplomat said Monday.
Vipul, the Indian consul general in Dubai who goes by one name, told The Associated Press that Emirati authorities would conduct a DNA test to see if two of the dead were the two Indian sailors missing since the blaze on Wednesday. Two others Indians were also killed, he said.
The fire started on the vessel, earlier identified as the Zoya 1, as the ship’s crew of 12 Indians and 44 others worked to prepare the ship to be scrapped in India, Vipul said. The cause of the blaze remains unknown.
Emirati officials did not immediately acknowledge the deaths and the missing sailors. The state-run WAM news agency had described the tanker as unloaded and had said its crew had been rescued last week.
The blaze broke out some 34 kilometers (21 miles) off the coast of Sharjah.
Mariners on the Zoya 1 reportedly had been stuck on the vessel for a year, unpaid, trying to come ashore amid a legal dispute over the vessel. They finally were repatriated in June 2018, but the ship remained off the coast of the UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula home to Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
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