Posted on September 30, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis
A massive explosion rocked the Cayman Islands-flagged Oil Products Tanker, STOLT GROENLAND during the morning hours of September the 28th while the vessel was docked at Ulsan Port, South Korea.
The incident occurred at approximately 11:00 am Seoul time while the vessel was berthed at Yeompo Quay. Due to the force of the explosion, the Stolt Groenland caught on fire, which proceeded to spread to a second vessel in the area, the Singapore-flagged Oil Products Tanker, BOW DALIAN.
According to initial reports, the Bow Dalian, which is owned by the Norwegian based, Odfjell was engaged in STS operations at the time.
We currently don’t know what led to the explosion, but an investigation is currently underway in order to determine the cause of the incident.
Some reports suggest that the explosion was caused by the overheating of cargo during the STS operation. A second theory suggest that the styrene cargo that was onboard the Stolt Groenland was the reason behind the incident.
Stolt has released an official statement in regard to the explosion.
“Stolt Tankers reports that the fire in the cargo section of Stolt Groenland is reported as extinguished, following the explosion at about 11:00 AM local time whilst berthed at Yeompo Quay in the port of Ulsan, South Korea.”
“All seafarers aboard the vessel have been safely evacuated and their families have been informed. Emergency responders continue with fire suppression efforts until all fire risks are eliminated. Senior officers from Stolt Groenland continue to support onsite emergency responders, and Stolt Tankers emergency response team continues to liaise with local authorities.”
“Stolt Tankers would like to express its deepest concern about the incident and any potential impact on those that were on board or in the vicinity of the two vessels. The safety of all people on-site and the protection of the environment is paramount to the company’s operations,” reads the official statement from Stolt.
According to Korean media, the 25 crew members of the Stolt Groenland and the 21 crew members of the Bow Dalian have all been accounted for.
However, nine individuals have sustained injuries, and one seafarer is considered to be in critical condition.
Thankfully. there’s been no signs of pollution in the area following the explosion. The vessel is considered stable and remains afloat.