DAMASCUS (Dispatches) – Firefighters have extinguished a fire on an oil tanker off Syria’s Banias refinery after it caught fire.
The identity of the vessel was unclear. TankerTrackers denied reports that the tanker was Iranian, saying in a tweet "the tanker seen burning today off the coast of Banias is not an Iranian vessel” but Beirut-registered.
Syrian state news agency SANA, which on Sunday cited an oil ministry statement, gave no further details.
Zionist and Western media outlets reported immediately after the incident that the fire had been caused by an offensive UAV.
Correcting an earlier report, a Syrian military official says the fire that had erupted on an oil tanker off the Arab country’s coast had not been caused by a military attack, and rather broke out due to lack of safety precautions.
The official made the remarks to Iran’s Noor news agency after the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said a fire had started burning in one of the vessel’s tanks as it was "near oil downstream” in the city of Banias in Syria’s Tartous Province. SANA cited the ministry of petroleum and mineral resources as saying that the fire "is believed to be an attack by a drone coming from the direction of Lebanese territorial waters.”
The Syrian official, however, categorically rejected the notion. He said the blaze had been caused due to lack of adherence to due technical and safety measures during a welding operation on the tanker as it was releasing its cargo.
Three of the shipmates, who were performing the welding process, were injured during the incident, the official noted.
Medical sources also told Noor news that one of those, who had suffered burns during the fire, succumbed to his injuries, while the other two were placed in intensive care.