An explosion on board a chemical tanker caused a fire that spread to a second tanker before emergency crews were able to douse the blaze
Details are still emerging concerning a fire that began with an explosion on board Stolt Tankers vessel Stolt Groenland and spread to a second tanker in the port of Ulsan, South Korea.
Tanker owner Stolt-Nielsen reported the explosion occurred at 11:00 am local time while the vessel was berthed at Yeompo Quay.
"All seafarers aboard the vessel have been safely evacuated with a minor injury reported to one crew member who has received medical attention," the company said in a statement. "Emergency responders will continue to maintain a cooling water spray over the ship overnight. The ship remains stable, with no cargo or fuel reported as released into the water."
The fire from Stolt Groenland spread to another vessel, Odfjell’s Bow Dalian, which was docked nearby.
A statement from Odfjell confirmed all crew had been accounted for and that the fire spread between vessels as they prepared for a ship-to-ship transfer of chemical cargo.
"Bow Dalian was preparing for ship-to-ship transfer of cargo... Cargo operations had not yet commenced when the explosion occurred," the statement said.
One crewmember was affected, according to a spokesperson. "There was one minor burn injury that one of our seafarers experienced but this has been treated at the scene," she said.
"Bow Dalian is now safely moored at a lay-by berth in Ulsan. There is no fire on board and representatives of Odfjell are preparing to board the vessel and assess the situation. The extent of the damage will be established during the forthcoming days."
Stolt-Nielsen said an investigation would commence shortly and expressed concern for the impact of the incident.
"A multinational team of internal and external experts has been mobilised and will be on location shortly to assist local authorities, assess damage, and start the investigation. The full extent of damage to the ship and cargo remains to be established. The exact cause of the incident is yet unknown. Stolt Tankers would like to express its deepest concern about the incident and any potential impact on those that were on board or in the vicinity of the two vessels."
Korean news agency Yonhap reported that 17 people were injured in the blaze including 11 sailors and six rescue workers "mostly from burns and smoke inhalation".
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