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Fire breaks out on tanker near Syria coast

Picture shows Iranian supertanker Grace 1 off the coast of Gibraltar on August 15, 2019 [JORGE GUERRERO/AFP via Getty Images]
Picture shows Iranian supertanker Grace 1 off the coast of Gibraltar on August 15, 2019 [JORGE GUERRERO/AFP via Getty Images]

A small fire occurred in one of the engines of a tanker off the coast of Syria's Mediterranean port of Banias, Reuters reported state media saying.

The fire was extinguished by the crew quickly with no casualties, it said.

"The technical fault took place in one of the engines of the oil tanker near the coast…it caused a small fire and a plume of smoke," state media said.

Local radio station FM Sham earlier said an explosion had hit a tanker during maintenance works after it had caught fire a few days earlier while offloading its oil cargo.

Last month, Syria's Minister of Communications and Oil said firefighters put out a fire on an oil tanker off the Banias refinery after a suspected attack by a drone coming from the direction of Lebanese waters.

READ: Iran, Syria deny drone attack on Iranian tanker, citing accident

Banias houses a refinery which, along with another in Homs, covers a significant part of the country's demand for diesel, heating fuel, gasoline, and other petroleum products, according to industry experts.

Syria has grown more dependent on Iranian oil shipments in recent years but tightening Western sanctions on Iran, Syria and their allies, as well as a foreign currency crunch, have made it more difficult to get enough supplies.

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IranMiddle EastNewsSyria
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