2 hurt as fire hits PH Navy ship on COVID-19 mission in India

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 8) — Two personnel of the Philippine Navy's BRP Ramon Alcaraz suffered second degree burns after the vessel caught fire while sailing back home from a COVID-19 mission in India.

The Naval Public Affairs Office said the fire broke out Thursday night, just hours after the vessel left Cochin Port for Manila.

The blaze was put out 10 minutes after it started at the main engine room, the Navy said in a statement on Friday. It resulted in the injury of two sailors and damages to minor equipment.

"The victims are to be airlifted to a naval hospital in Cochin, India for extensive medical attention," the Navy said.

"Onboard engineers are now assessing the damage to the ship’s main propulsion system to determine whether they can proceed with their voyage or return to India to conduct necessary repairs," the Navy also said.

BRP Ramon Alcaraz, along with BRP Davao del Sur, is part of the Naval Task Force 82's mission to transport 200,000 units of personal protective equipment to help the Philippines' fight against the coronavirus disease. The mission also involved the evacuation of 18 Filipino tourists who were stranded in India due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ships are expected to arrive in the country in the last week of May. It is not clear if the incident would cause delay to BRP Ramon Alcaraz' arrival in Manila.