KOCHI: A domestic merchant ship caught fire off the coast here with one crew member suffering severe burns today as the Navy launched a rescue operation, a Defence official said.
The ship "MV Nalini" caught fire while being anchored at 14.5 nautical miles south west off Kochi and has lost power and propulsion, prompting it to send out a request for evacuation of its crew members.
A defence spokesperson here, quoting a message received from the ship with 22 crew members on board, said one man has suffered 80 per cent burns.
He has been admitted to a hospital here.
As per the latest information available here, fire was reported in the engine room after an explosion.
The situation is under control now,the spokesperson said.
The ship is a chemical tanker and was carrying naphtha, he said.
The Southern Naval command dispatched an Advanced Light Helicopter, while a Sea King copter was being prepared for launch later, in case more crew members were to be evacuated, he said.
In case the ship made a request for other crew to be evacuated, the needful would be done, he said.
The Southern Naval Command has also dispatched INS Kalpeni to provide assistance, the spokesperson said.
Besides, the Coast Guard and Cochin Port Trust had sent a 'Charlie' boat and a tug respectively in response to the evacuation request, he said.