Captain missing after Japanese tanker explodes

Maritime Accidents, Safety and Security — By on May 30, 2014 at 2:56 PM
Photo taken from a Kyodo News helicopter shows black smoke rising from the tanker Shoko Maru. Photo: PA

Photo taken from a Kyodo News helicopter shows black smoke rising from the tanker Shoko Maru. Photo: PA

29 May 2014 – The captain of a Japanese oil tanker is missing after a serious explosion on the vessel this morning. (source: IHS 360 30 May 2014)

Japanese Coast Guard officials told IHS Maritime that the explosion happened on Shoko Maru, a 1995-built 2, 242dwt oil tanker, sometime around 09.30 Japanese time today.

“Of the eight crew on board, seven were rescued. But the captain remains missing, ” said a coast guard official, who added that all crew members are Japanese nationals.

The tanker had just unloaded crude oil at Himeji port, about 450km west of Tokyo, when the explosion occurred.

As at 15.00 local time, coast guard vessels were still attempting to bring the flames under control.

“The tanker is still gutted by the flames. Our patrol vessels are still undertaking firefighting activities at the scene, ” said the official.

The official was unable to say how the fire started, saying the cause of the fire was still being investigated. However, the ship owner, Hiroshima-based Shoho Kaiun told AFP that a crew member was using a grinder to remove paint and that seems to have triggered the blast.

IHS Maritime’s attempts to contact Shoho Kaiun for comment were unsuccessful as staff who answered phone calls claimed that its senior executives had rushed to the explosion scene.

IHS Maritime’s Sea-web data show Shoko Maru has been trading in domestic Japanese waters.

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