AFM Coordinates Fire Fighting Operation at sea
06 September 2013
AFM personnel working at the Operations Centre of the Armed Forces of Malta were alerted with an emergency message being transmitted at sea. After initial investigation it appeared that a Tanzanian registered vessel (Gold Star) was on fire and in distress some 30 nautical miles north of Malta. The AFM immediately dispatched three of its maritime assets (an inshore patrol vessel P23, a fast interceptor and offshore patrol vessel P52) and an Alouette III helicopter to the operational area. It resulted that the dry cargo vessel was carrying 9 people who are now safe as they were picked up by an Italian Guardia di Finanza vessel that was close by. The coordination of the search and rescue operation was carried out by the AFM’s Rescue Coordination Centre in Luqa. Apart from AFM vessels , this operation saw the participation of the Maltese Civil Protection Department Vessel Garibaldi, Italian air and naval law enforcement assets as well as a number of civilian support vessels including the ‘Nos Taurus’ . The fire fighting operation is still ongoing
UPDATE 1 :
Malta and Italy join forces to fight Fire onboard the Golden Star.
Armed Forces of Malta Maritime Vessels together with Garibaldi (Civil Protection Department) are still battling small fires on the superstructure of the ‘ Golden Star’ after it went up in flames last night. The vessel is now 16 nautical miles from the Maltese coast and following close collaboration between the Italian and Maltese Rescue Coordination centres the AFM is coordinating the operation aiming to stabilize and secure the ship to render it safe. Crew members from P52 (AFM offshore patrol vessel) are now onboard the Cargo vessel . Italian Coast Guard and Guardia di Finanza vessels are also in the area to provide assistance. Transport Malta is also monitoring the situation as it unfolds.
At noon today, the AFM’s on scene commander declared that the remaining flames onboard the ‘Gold Star’ were extinguished and the vessel was secure. The cargo vessel was officially handed over to Italian authorities at 1:42pm ,where it was towed by tug boat , ‘Nos Taurus’ to Sicily for further investigation by Italian authorities. The vessel initially caught fire in international waters at around 5 .30 pm yesterday afternoon and since then has seen the AFM operations centre coordinate the search and rescue efforts with close collaboration with the Italian Rescue Coordination Centre. The operation was being closely monitored by Transport Malta whilst the Civil Protection Department maritime asset Garibaldi also assisted in the operation.