|Thursday, 29 July 2004|
Six sailors killed as oil tanker explodes off Lankan shores
by Manjula Fernando
Six sailors including two engineers were killed when an oil tanker exploded in international waters close to the south-east coast of Sri Lanka.
The tanker, Setiya Jaya empty at the time of the explosion, is at anchor several kilometres away from the Southern coast.
A team of experts will leave today to make a preliminary assessment to salvage the damaged oil tanker. The ship was abandoned by its crew on July 18 following the sudden explosion. The ship's agents have contacted the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) for assistance to recover five bodies left behind at the time of evacuation, Ports Ministry sources said yesterday.
Fifteen crew members including the captain of the ship were rescued by another tanker British Pride, that was in the vicinity. "We have been informed that six more crew members who had jumped overboard following the explosion are still missing," ministry sources said.
Among the dead were two Myanmar citizens, two Chinese and two Indonesians. The ship was en route to Indonesia from the Maldives.
The blast had mainly damaged Setiya Jaya's engine room and the accommodation compartments in the lower decks.
The reason for the explosion is still unknown and the team which includes the Government Analyst and P&I surveyors will assess whether it is safe to tow the tanker close to our territorial waters to estimate the extent of the damage and investigate the cause of the sudden explosion.
Produced by Lake House