Photo: Illustration. Image by the Port of Gibraltar on Wikimedia under CC BY-SA 4.0 license

Four injured in bulker explosion off Gibraltar coast

Four crew members were injured following an explosion onboard a Hong Kong-flagged bulker in Gibraltar waters on 19 February 2021.

The ship in question is the 120,600 dwt CSSC Cape Town built in China in 2020.

Carrying 19 crewmembers, the bulk carrier arrived in Gibraltar from Baltimore, the USA, and was en route to Port Said, Egypt, loaded with 112,365 tonnes of coal.

According to the Gibraltar Port Authority (GPA), the incident occurred after the vessel entered British Gibraltar territorial waters in the Bay of Gibraltar on Friday night. The explosion appeared to be in the area of the vessel’s forecastle. Luckily, no fire has been reported.

As informed, two crew members were treated aboard the ship by paramedics from the Gibraltar Health Authority. Another two seafarers suffering serious burns were evacuated for urgent treatment at a local hospital.

It is expected that additional crew will be brought to replace their injured colleagues.

The Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP) has started a preliminary investigation into the cause of the explosion.

“Pending any contrary conclusion by the RGP in their currently open investigation, there is no reported reason at this point to suspect that any foul play gave rise to the explosion,” the GPA said in a statement.

The port authority added that CSSC Cape Town is stable and fully operational with the exception of its anchor equipment.

“Technicians will shortly attend the vessel to try to repair the vessel’s anchor system. Classification and flag state representatives and surveyors will also attend to carry out their own investigations aboard the vessel.”