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3 dead, 6 missing in oil tanker explosion

Posted January. 15, 2001 19:01,   


Three sailors were found dead and six are still missing after an explosion sunk a Panama-registered oil tanker at about 10 a.m., Monday, the local maritime police said.

The blast of unknown cause took place when the 5,544 ton-class P-Harmony was sailing some five miles northeast off Koje Island, South Kyongsang Province.

Some 182 tons of Bunker C and 26 tons of fuel leaked into the sea from the ship, and the navy and maritime police launched an emergency operation to contain the spill.

The explosion broke out while the oil tanker was sailing to Yosu Port, South Cholla Province after it unloaded oil at Ulsan Port at about 5:30 a.m. The vessel sunk at about 10:30 a.m., 30 minutes after the blast.

Pusan Maritime Police and the Korean Navy immediately sent rescue ships and helicopters to the site of the accident and rescued seven sailors, including two women, who were in a lifeboat. There were a total 16 sailors onboard at the time of the explosion. The rescue teams also recovered the bodies of the three dead sailors, one of whom was Shin Ki-Bom, 54.

Three of the seven rescued crewmembers are in critical condition, and the police were searching for the six missing sailors.