Naphtha tanker blaze extinguished

by Hans | August 20th, 2009

THE fire on the stricken tanker Formosaproduct Brick was put out early today but nine seafarers from the vessel remain missing. Despite fears the naphtha fire onboard the Formasa Products tanker, which collided with the panamax bulker Ostende Max in the Malacca Strait on August 18, could burn for days, salvors and rescue services have been successful in extinguishing the blaze. The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency said the fire was put out at 0455 hrs local time on August 20.  The vessel was listing at an 11 degree angle, but stable, just outside the traffic separation scheme of the Malacca Strait. The vessel’s bridge and accommodation block was destroyed in the fire. Industry sources said the tanker would be towed to Port Dickson where it was expected to offload its remaining cargo.  No pollution has been reported, with the cargo from ruptured tanks burning off in the explosions and fire that followed the collision. Nine out of 25 crew members from the tanker remain missing and rescuers were waiting to board the ship where it is believed their bodies could be trapped.  “Some of my crew managed to jump overboard, but I believe some are still trapped in the engine room,” Formosaproduct Brick master, Jiang Han Cheng, told the New Straits Times.  In all 16 crew escaped the burning tanker either in liferafts, or by jumping overboard, and were rescued by a passing containership. The cause of the accident is unknown and the Ostende Max has been ordered to berth near Port Dickson pending investigations. Collision and navigational warnings were broadcast to inform other vessels transiting the incident area.

Marcus Hand, Kuala Lumpur – donderdag 20 augustus 2009 for Lloyds List

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