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Empty tanker ship runs aground off Sicilian coast

Marcello Paternostro / AFP - Getty Images

Waves break over an Italian oil tanker, submerged by waves, that ran aground near Syracuse, in southern Sicily on March 11. The ship ran aground in high winds and seas off Sicily, the coastguard said, adding that the 19 crew were taken off by helicopter amid worsening weather.

Marcello Paternostro / AFP - Getty Images

Rescuers work on an Italian oil tanker that ran aground near Syracuse, in southern Sicily on March 11.

An empty Italian tanker ran aground on rocks in bad weather off the Sicilian coast on Saturday and all 19 crew members were rescued, the coastguard said.

The 127-metre-long (415-feet-long) Gelso M was heading for the Sicilian port of Augusta, home of an oil refinery and chemical complex, to take on fuel.

The coastguard said the tanker, listed as an oil/chemical tanker, was not carrying cargo at the time of the accident.

The ship had taken on water in its engine room and plans were being made to move it from the rocks, the coastguard said.

-- Reported by Reuters