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Two Seriously Injured in Explosion Aboard Chinese Bulker

cssc cape town
CSSC Cape Town at her delivery, 2020 (CSSC)

By The Maritime Executive 02-21-2021 10:02:00

Four crewmembers of the bulker CSSC Cape Town injured in an explosion on board the ship on Friday night, and two of them had to be medevaced for treatment of severe burns. 

The CSSC Cape Town is a 120,000 dwt bulk carrier built last year. As she entered Gibraltar's territorial waters on Friday night, she sustained an explosion in the vicinity of the forecastle, according to the Gibraltar Port Authority (GPA). 

Two members of the all-Chinese crew were treated abord the vessel by paramedics from the Gibraltar Health Authority. First responders decided to evacuate the other two victims for urgent treatment, and the Port of Algeciras offered to assist with a helicopter medevac. GHA responders decided to transport them to St Bernard's Hospital in Gibraltar, and they were then transferred onwards to a burn unit in Seville to treat extensive burn injuries (40 and 25 percent, respectively).   

The vessel's anchoring system was not functional after the blast, and she was not immediately able to anchor. She remains stable and fully operational in all other respects, the Gibraltar Port Authority said, and repairs to her anchoring equipment will begin shortly. Class and flag state representatives will also attend to conduct an inspection and safety investigation. 

The Royal Gibraltar Police have boarded the vessel to begin an investigation into the circumstances of the explosion. No foul play is expected or indicated, the GPA said in a statement.  

"The Gibraltar Port Authority extends its gratitude to all agencies, authorities and individuals who have assisted in dealing with this incident," the agency said. "The GPA also extends it gratitude to the Port of Algeciras for its kind offer of assistance in dealing with the casualties sadly involved in this incident."