Fire and Explosion Kill Product Tanker Crewmember

Sister ship No. 2 Heung-A Pioneer (file image)

By MarEx 2016-04-20 11:22:40

On the evening of April 18, a fire and explosion aboard the product tanker No. 3 Heung-A Pioneer claimed the life of one crewmember and injured five others.

The vessel was off of Tanjung Dawai at the time of the incident, about 12 nm north of the harbor at Penang, Malaysia, in the Straits of Malacca. 

A spokesman for Penang Port said that a gas canister is suspected as a cause in the explosion, but information is sparse as investigations continue. 

"The captain of the ship revealed that the fire started from the middle of the ship's deck which in turn caused the explosion," said the port authority's chief executive oficer, Rosihan Adi Baharuddin.  

Rosihan said that following the distress call, emergency response assets awaited the ship's arrival at Penang. She berthed 45 minutes later at the Butterworth Wharves, in the early hours of April 19, and first responders came aboard. 

The deceased crewmember was identified as Tha Tun, 35. The injured crew "are being treated at a hospital in Penang and all of them are in stable condition," said Rosihan. 

The 2009-built, 13,000 dwt Pioneer is owned by Yaegawa Kaiun and operated by Korean firm Heung-A Shipping, which has a fleet of some 30 container feeders and 20 product tankers in operation in Southeast Asian markets. Unlike many operators of container vessels, Heung-A booked a small profit last year.