Hong Kong, Nov. 24 (Reuters): A tanker carrying 20,000 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas caught fire in Chinese waters east of Hong Kong today, risking a huge explosion, authorities said, though the wind drove flames away from the ship’s cargo area.
The crew of 34 on the Panamanian-registered gas carrier Gaz Poem was rescued and there were no casualties after fire broke out in the engine-room of the vessel, about 38 km from Hong Kong, and far from residential areas, authorities said.
“If the fire was to keep burning with 20,000 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas, there would be a major, major explosion,” Captain Ravi Dewan, head of the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, told reporters.
The incident comes less than a week after a tanker broke in half and sank off the northern coast of Spain, spewing out an estimated 11,000 tonnes of fuel oil, and taking down with it roughly six times that.
Firemen from Hong Kong and China battled the blaze on the Gaz Poem, but Dewan said he expected it to burn for some hours yet, after raging for more than half a day.