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Monday, 25 March, 2002, 11:12 GMT
Gulf oil tankers 'safe' after collision
Two huge oil tankers collided in the Gulf off the United Arab Emirates on Monday but there were no injuries and no spill despite damage to one.

Tugs took several hours to separate the two vessels after they collided early on Monday morning 24 km (15 miles) from the port of Fujairah.

They are now separated and the British Vigilance is stable and safe


One tanker, the British Vigilance, was holed in the collision but it had been empty at the time and a spokesman said it was now "stable and safe".

Spokesmen for the British Vigilance and the Stena King, which are both about 300 metres (990 feet) long, confirmed that there had been no injuries or oil spill.

The operations manager at Stena King's managing company said the ship had been carrying 450,000 tonnes of oil from Saudi Arabia to the Gulf of Mexico in the United States at the time of the collision.

The tanker has a crew of 43, mainly British officers and Filipino sailors, Jan Sonesson said.

'Smallish hole'

The British Vigilance, chartered by British Petroleum (BP), had been steaming towards Dubai.

A spokesman for BP told BBC News Online none of the 22 crew, including about a dozen British officers, had been injured.

The spokesman said the bows of the Stena King had hit the side of the British Vigilance, holing it.

But he said the 343-metre vessel would continue under its own power once a destination had been found.

"They are now separated and the British Vigilance is stable and safe.

"We are not overconcerned about its seaworthiness. It is a big vessel and a smallish hole.

"The crew have obviously had a bit of a rough night and we will try to get them changed out as soon as possible."

See also:

23 Jan 01 | Americas
Spotlight on oil transport risks
10 Oct 01 | England
Cargo master dies as ships collide
09 Sep 01 | Middle East
Oil tanker ablaze in Gulf
16 Apr 01 | Middle East
Gulf tanker spill 'under control'
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