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Explosion cripples container ship off Puerto Rico

16 May 2012

The US coastguard said on May 14 that it was closely monitoring the condition of the containership MSC Idil, which reported an explosion on board on May 9 approximately 60 nautical miles north of Puerto Rico, during a transit to Barcelona.

The MSC Idil is currently off Puerto Rico with a Coast Guard cutter in attendance
The MSC Idil is currently off Puerto Rico with a Coast Guard cutter in attendance

None of the 25-member crew were injured, but the explosion caused the ship to begin listing and take water into a fuel tank and cargo compartment. A Coast Guard cutter is on scene ready to provide assistance, and the crew are controlling the ship’s stability using onboard water pumps to manage flooding.

The vessel’s owner, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), has hired commercial salvage company DonJon-Smit to conduct an assessment of the vessel and effect repairs.

Crew members reported the explosion was most likely caused by welding taking place on board the vessel and say there has not been any release of hazardous materials into the environment, but are taking actions to mitigate any potential release.

The vessel is said to have 588,000 gallons of fuel oil and 62,000 gallons of diesel on board.

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