28 Oct 2010

Crew of burning ship rescued

7:15 am on 28 October 2010

Britain's coastguard launched a major rescue effort on Wednesday for the 111 crew aboard a blazing factory fishing vessel off southwest England.

Most of the crew had taken to liferafts after the Athena caught fire 370km southwest of the Isles of Scilly.

A cargo vessel rescued 98 crew members in the rafts, the BBC reports. There were no injuries.

The fire was under control, but 13 people were remaining on board to tackle it, the ship's owner said. The ship is now sailing to the UK.

The master of the ship evacuated the non-essential personnel to life rafts after the blaze broke out in the processing area of the ship while it was sailing to its next fishing area.

Coastguards said that five ships responded to the emergency call and that the nearest, the container ship Vega, reached the scene scene first and recovered the 98 people, both men and women, from 11 life rafts.

The crew included Chinese, Russians, Peruvians and Scandinavians.