Whitby: Tanker towed to Tees after fire

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Whitby’s lifeboat was launched today after a merchant seaman suffered extensive burns and was airlifted to hospital today (June 11) following a fire on board a tanker.

The tanker, Mississippi Star, was six miles north east of Whitby when the alarm was raised to Humber Coastguard at 12.30pm. The RNLI lifeboat from Whitby was launched, followed by Scarborough RNLI lifeboat which was already at sea for a training exercise.

A member of the tanker’s crew was airlifted from the vessel by RAF rescue helicopter and taken to James Cook University Hospital while the lifeboats stood by in case the crew had to abandon ship.

The Mississippi Star’s crew isolated the engine room and extinguished the fire, said Glenn Goodberry, Whitby RNLI Mechanic.

Speaking from the lifeboat at 4pm, he added: ‘By the time we reached her, the ship had drifted several miles but the fire was out. Scarborough lifeboat has returned to station but we are standing by the tanker at the moment to ensure the crew are safe. We expect a tug will be called to take the tanker into the Tees where the damage can be assessed.’

The tanker, which was not carrying any cargo, had left the Tees this morning bound for Antwerp.