Video: Fires and Explosions Kill Four on Bangladesh Product Tanker
Officials in Bangladesh are reporting that four crewmembers were killed and a dozen or more people hospitalized after two explosions and fires aboard a small tanker on the Sugandha River. The fires and explosions, which happened two days apart, have now both been extinguished as they work to understand the cause of the fires.
The Sagor Nandini-2 was a coastal tanker transporting fuel products under charter to the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation. Reports indicate the vessel was built in 2012 and approximately 1,000 dwt. It is owned by SHR Navigation of Dhaka, which operates four similar tankers.
The Coast Guard reports the vessel loaded a total of 1.1 million liters made up of approximately 700,000 liters of diesel and an additional 400,000 liters of gasoline which was being transported to the Padma Oil Company from Chattogram. When the vessel arrived in Sugandha it was unable to dock and begin offloading because of delays due to the Eid-ul-Adha holiday. It was anchored in the river on July 1.
A fire is believed to have started in the vessel’s engine room on Saturday afternoon and it was followed by an explosion. There were nine crewmembers aboard and five were taken to a local hospital with burns. The body of the ship’s oiler was later found in the engine room. The explosion ripped a section of the deckhouse off the vessel and the authorities later recovered the body of the master and two other crewmembers in that wreckage which was adjacent to the ship in the river.
According to the Coast Guard, the fire and explosion however did not reach the fuel cargo tanks. On Sunday, they began an operation to transfer the fuel to other vessels. Approximately 600,000 liters of diesel had been transferred to another vessel, the Mridula. A second operation was beginning to transfer the gasoline to another of the company’s vessels, the Sagor Nandini-4 when a second fire broke out on Monday.
Vessels from the Bangladesh Coastguard and the Inland Water Authority had been standing by and they were being assisted by the police. Reports are saying as many as 10 police officers were injured and hospitalized during the second blast. Crewmembers from the Sagor Nandini-4 reportedly also dove into the river.
The Bangladesh Navy sent its vessel Dolphin to assist. Reports indicate the second fire was extinguished after about 10 hours on Tuesday morning.
In December 2022, a vessel by the same name was also involved in a collision. In that incident, it was reported the ship sunk in Bangladesh's Meghna River. It is unclear if it is a different vessel with the same name but the reports are being associated with the same operator.