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Tanker Blast Injures 18 At South Korean Port

An oil tanker explosion in the South Korean port of Ulsan has injured 18, including crew members and rescue workers, AFP reports, citing Korea’s news agency.

According to the media, when the explosion occurred there were no repairs works being carried out on board the Cayman Islands-flagged Stolt Groenland. The reason for the blast is being investigated at the moment but the impact on the port so far has been minimal, a coast guard official told Reuters.

The fire that the explosion caused spread to a neighboring vessel, injuring some of those on board as well. According to the Korean coast guard, all of the 25 people on board the first tanker and the 21 on board the other one have been rescued.

“The fire has largely been put out but we are checking inside the vessels if there are any flames left or smoke coming out,” an official from the South Korean coast guard told Reuters on the day of the explosion.

The initial number of those injured in the blast was just 10, most of them workers at the port, according to the Reuters report. Later, as the fire spread to the second tanker—a South Korean one—the numbers were revised upwards. Only one of the injured is from the crew of the second vessel, according to a statement by the owner of the Bow Dalian—Norwegian Odfjell.

"It is obviously something in the cargo that caused the explosion and the fire," Russian TASS quoted the Russian vice-consul in nearby Busan as saying. Ten of the Cayman Islands-flagged crew are Russian. The rest are Filipinos. The owner of the Stolt Groenland is Stolt Tankers, a division of Stolt-Nielsen, also a Norwegian company.

According to the latest update on the situation from the Maritime Bulletin, both vessels are stable.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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