1 dead, 6 injured in tanker explosion

Chemical tanker at Mumbai Harbour caught fire following an explosion in storeroom one week after a similar incident

South Korean national and crew member of the Royal Diamond 7, Munhyeon Seok, succumbed to his injuries after an explosion in the store room at the fore of the tanker. Fortyyear-old Seok had sustained 90 per cent burns and was being treated at Masina Hospital, Byculla.  

A chemical tanker caught fire on March 17 at 11.30 am following an
explosion that occurred at the deck. The Royal Diamond 7 was berthed
at New Pir Pau berth, a chemical jetty belonging to the Mumbai Port Trust,
to discharge a consignment of 2,000 tonnes of Toulene imported by Aegis
Chemicals Ltd.  The vessel was then moved to what was considered a
safer location -- the Mumbai Harbour on March 19.

Seok was one among seven crew members, identified as cleaners, who sustained severe burn and shrapnel injuries after an explosion took place at the fore of the tanker at 11.45 am on Saturday. This is the second accident reported on the tanker,  which caught fire a week ago on March 17, when a similar explosion was traced to the same storeroom. Though no one was hurt in last week's incident, yesterday's blast has already claimed its first victim.

Shobhnath Rawat, 30, (see picture below) who sustained 6 per cent burns and shrapnel injuries and is currently being treated at St George Hospital, CST, recalls the incident, "We were all present in the store room when the explosion happened, I remember seeing fire but don't know what caused it."

The Mumbai Port Trust authorities confirmed that the explosion occurred at the same storeroom where the explosion and fire had occurred a week earlier. P Mohanachandran, Secretary, Mumbai Port Trust said, "As of now we are not sure about the cause of the explosion and the fire in the storeroom of the jetty on Saturday afternoon."

Crew members Raja Prasad (25), has suffered 25 per cent burns, Tirath Rawat (35) has 45 per cent burns and Sunny Rawat (33) sustained severe abrasions on his left leg due to shrapnel injuries. All four are residents of Masjid Bunder and are receiving treatment for their injuries at St George Hospital.

The other two foreign nationals working on the jetty include 30 year-old Kim Seong Hun who sustained 20 per cent burns and Daruca Alota (40) who suffered 30 per cent burns. They remain under observation at Masina Hospital. Doctors are concerned that the burns, if found to be chemical-induced, could complicate the matter.

VR Joglekar, Chief PRO, Mumbai Port Trust said, "Senior Port management has visited the chemical tanker and has been decided to shift the tanker to Outer-Anchorage."

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