Three crew members of a Gabon-registered tanker were missing after the vessel caught fire on Monday in waters off Malaysia’s southern coast, Malaysian maritime authorities said.

The tanker was on its way from China to Singapore with 28 crew members on board, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) said, adding that 23 were rescued by the MMEA and by nearby vessels. The tanker has a history of moving Iranian oil.

This tanker is probably part of the ‘dark’ fleet of shadow tankers moving unlicensed cargoes about the globe. The ship, registered in Gabon, a popular flag of choice for sanctions-busting companies, is listed as being owned by Marshall Islands-based Pablo Union Shipping, a single-ship shell company.

The issue concerning maritime authorities is that this ‘dark’ fleet now numbers around 600 vessels, many of which are aged and poorly maintained. They carry cargoes that are hazardous, polluting and with weak accountability.

More details: here.