Bulker explosion off Gibraltar leaves two seafarers in hospital

An explosion onboard the 2020-built bulker CSSC Cape Town off Gibraltar left four seafarers injured with two being treated onboard and two being evacuated to hospital in Gibraltar suffering from 40% and 25% burns.

The Gibraltar Port Authority reported the local police are investigating the cause of the explosion. In a statement on its website it also says the vessel is now to the east of Gibraltar unable to anchor at present but in constant contact with Gibraltar VTS.  The vessel is stable and fully operational with the exception of its anchor equipment.  The GPA will continue to work with the ship’s crew and its agents to assist in repairs, provisioning and, if possible, anchoring.

CSSC Cape Town is loaded with 112,365 metric tonnes of coal, loaded at Curtis Bay Coal Terminal in the United States.  The port authority said this cargo does not represent a danger to the vessel or to other vessels in the immediate vicinity.   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.   It is also anticipated that additional crew will be brought to replace those injured.

The circumstances of the incident are similar to those that occurred on the Tamar another bulk carrier carrying coal from Baltimore in 2017. In that incident which occurred off the Azores, the cause of the explosion was said to have been methane leaking from the cargo in No.1 hold entering the windlass control room and adjacent spaces. Two seafarers died and two were severely injured.

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