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Oil tanker explosion kills one, seven people remain missing

17 January 2023

An explosion on an oil tanker at a dockyard in Thailand killed one person and injured four others on January 17. Seven people remain missing after the tanker caught fire and exploded while it was docked on the Mae Klong river.

Representative image: Shutterstock
Representative image: Shutterstock

The ship, Smooth Sea 22, was docked at the Ruammitr Dockyard for maintenance when the explosion happened. Initial reports indicated the tanker had been emptied of its cargo, however officials later said that around 25,000 litres of fuel was still onboard while the maintenance was being conducted. Police and firefighters attended the scene shortly after 09:00 local time and immediately started a search for the missing dock workers after the fire had been extinguished.

Provincial Governor Somnuk Promkaew said that the explosion on the Smooth Sea 22 happened while welding was being conducted by the workers. It is believed that 10 workers had been aboard the ship at the time of the incident while around 30 others had been nearby.

Several nearby buildings were damaged and the explosion could be heard from several miles away. The Bangkok Post reports that one worker was confirmed to have died at the scene after body parts were found around 500 metres away. The newspaper added that a second body may have been found, however the remains are burnt beyond recognition.

Provincial Governor Somnuk Promkaew added that an investigation would begin immediately to determine the circumstances surrounding the explosion.

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