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Singapore Firefighter Dies Fighting Blaze on Chinese Tanker

Singapore
Fire broke out on a tanker in Singapore's anchorage (file photo)

Published May 16, 2024 3:26 PM by The Maritime Executive

 

The Singapore Civil Defence Force is mourning the loss of one of their captains who died today during a fire aboard a Chinese-flagged product tanker in the port’s anchorage. According to the report, the captain was a specialized trained marine firefighter with two years in the role and six years experience with the fire force.

A report of a fire aboard the product tanker Sheng Hang Hua 6 (7,469 dwt) was received at 12:15 a.m. local time on May 16. Built in 2022, the vessel was anchored in the southwest of Singapore. 

The Singapore fire team reached the vessel at around 1:15 a.m. and found smoke coming from the engine room. All 19 crewmembers of the vessel were safely accounted for in the incident.

Two firefighters were in the smoke-filled engine room at approximately 3:30 a.m. working as part of the firefighting effort. Both were wearing personal protective equipment. One of the firefighters was directing his water jet towards the source of the fire.

Captain Kenneth Tay Xue Qin, age 30, was moving around the engine room with a thermal imaging device to detect other hot spots. At approximately 4:00 a.m., his colleague realized that Captain Tay had not responded to calls and began searching for him in the engine room.

At around 4:00 a.m., the firefighting team found his body at the bottom of a staircase about four meters below the engine room. He was conscious when they located him and they began an immediate evacuation but he quickly lost consciousness. CPR was commenced and continued on deck and while he was being evacuated from the tanker aboard an SCDF fast-response marine craft to the onshore terminal. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

The SCDF is investigating and reports that a review of the body-worn camera appears to show Captain Tay “encounter difficulties,” at about 3:53 a.m. while in the engine room. They did not elaborate other than saying he appeared to be “unwell” when he was evacuated to the deck.

The firefighter had completed his training in July 2018 and working onshore till November 2020. In May 2022, he completed the five-week Marine Firefighting Specialist Course. Media reports indicate that Captain Tay was the second SCDF firefighter to die in the line of duty.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore is reporting that the fire was extinguished on the tanker and it is in stable condition. They said there are no reports of pollution. The vessel did not have a fuel cargo aboard.