Maritime authorities in France have reported that an explosion and a subsequent fire has left three people injured on board a foreign-flagged commercial vessel off the country’s Mediterranean coast on Tuesday, June 21.
The Panamanian-registered MSC Rachele was en route to the southern French port of Fos-Sur-Mer when the explosion occurred in the ship’s engine room while it was some 20 nautical miles off Cape Cepet on the morning (local time) of Tuesday.
The French Navy immediately deployed two helicopters to the area to conduct medical evacuation flights after it was reported that three of the containership’s crew suffered injuries from the blast.
The injured sailors were brought aboard the French Navy helicopter carrier Tonnerre for medical treatment. All three were subsequently airlifted to a military hospital in Toulon.
The remaining crew aboard MSC Rachele were able to bring the fire under control. Preparations are now underway to have the ship towed to port by civilian tugs chartered by the shipowner.
Authorities are continuing to monitor the area around the containership for any signs of pollution.
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