UAE: MT Prem Divya Blast Investigation Continues

UAE - MT Prem Divya Blast Investigation Continues

A series of explosions caused by welding work on a tanker at Fujairah are now being investigated.

The vessel was hit by three blasts erupting at the aft of the ship, causing damage to its engine room, living quarters and bridge. The spark for the fire was caused by welding work but the cause of several explosions remains unclear.

It is believed that a potential cause for the explosions was residual flammable gas, often present on oil tankers, but which should have been cleared out prior to initiating ignitable work such as welding.

The vessel certified as having been gas free was in ballast at the time of casualty.

The ship had been empty of oil, which may have created more space for flammable gas to expand. However, the vessel had been certified as “degassed” before work began, according to Captain Mousa Morad, the general manager of the Fujairah port.

Among 105 local repair workers and crew members on board the Mercator-managed Aframax Prem Divya, three people have been reported dead, one injured and two missing.

The Aframax arrived at Fujairah on December 27 for a 10-day repair project.

Prem Divya will remain at Fujairah until investigation has been fully conducted. A damage assessment will be carried out and compensation paid to the repair companies.

Reportedly workers from local companies had arrived on board to check the vessel’s piping and to undertake welding work in the engine room, including other repair and maintenance work.

World Maritime News Staff, January 9, 2012; Image: Mercator