Cyprus: Empty oil tanker catches fire; 5 crew rescued

Cyprus: Empty oil tanker catches fire; 5 crew rescued

Cyprus authorities say a Maltese-flagged oil tanker caught fire and ran aground near a fishing village on Saturday, forcing several crew members to jump overboard.

Cyprus' Joint Rescue Coordination Center says the fire aboard the tanker Athlos was extinguished soon after it broke out. Five crew members were rescued from the water and taken to the hospital.

The Center said the empty tanker issued a distress call Saturday following an explosion and fire onboard shortly after setting sail from Larnaca port some 3.5 miles off the village of Zygi.

The vessel had run aground 200 meters from shore near Zygi.

The tanker, with 17 crew members including 7 Greeks, 9 Indians and a Georgian, was heading to the Greek port of Aspropyrgos.

Police vessels and fire-fighting ships are at the scene. [AP]

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