Fire kills seven on drydocked tanker in Sumatra, Indonesia

Jag Leela (Photo: MarineTraffic.com/Derrick Johnson)
Jag Leela (Photo: MarineTraffic.com/Derrick Johnson)

Seven people are confirmed dead while 22 others were wounded after a fire broke out on a drydocked oil tanker in Sumatra, Indonesia, on Monday, May 11.

The Indonesian-flagged Jag Leela had been undergoing repairs at the state-owned Waruna Nusa Sentana shipyard at Sumatra's Port of Belawan for about a month when the incident occurred on Monday.

Local officials said the fire resulted in thick black smoke billowing from the stern as well as a series of explosions on board the ship.

Responding firefighting teams spent hours working to contain the blaze to allow rescuers to safely board the burning tanker and evacuate the crew.

A total of 31 survivors were subsequently taken off the vessel. Twenty-two had suffered burn injuries and were rushed to hospital.

The charred remains of seven deceased crewmembers had been found on board by the morning of Tuesday, May 12. DNA tests are being conducted to identify the victims.

A police official said the seven individuals had become trapped and were unable to escape as the fire swept through their vessel.

The same official added that the death toll is expected to rise as a number of crewmembers had gone missing during the fire and are believed to still be on board the ship.

Search and recovery teams will begin inspecting the tanker's compartments to locate the missing crewmembers as soon as firefighting officials declare that it is safe to do so.

The cause of the fire has not yet been identified.

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