A Spanish maritime rescue helicopter airlifted the 21-man crew of a Panamanian bulk carrier following an engine room explosion as the ship sailed through the Strait of Gibraltar.
The explosion caused a fire on board the Theodore Jr., which was loaded with 17,700 tonnes of phosphates.
The incident happened in the Mediterranean about 24 nautical miles off Ceuta and Spanish rescue teams were swiftly despatched to the scene.
“As our vessels were approaching, the ship’s master communicated that the fire was out of control and asked for the crew to be evacuated,” said a spokesman for the central Spanish government’s regional office in Cádiz.
All the crewmen were taken off the ship safely and there were no reports of injuries.
Three state-owned Spanish rescue tugs were on site throughout Friday working to extinguish the fire.