Three people were killed Tuesday after an explosion on an oil tanker caused a fire on the ship at the Russian Port of Makhachkala.
The blast occurred in the engine room of the M/V VF Tanker-16 about 4:30 a.m. Moscow time before the smoke spread to the accommodation spaces of the superstructure, vessel owner Volga Shipping Company said in a statement. The incident happened while the tanker was pumping oil, Russia’s Transport Ministry said according to a Reuters report.
Nine of the 12 crew members were evacuated, three of whom were taken to medical centers, Volga said. A representative of the regional Ministry of Health said one of the victims was in critical condition with burns on 95% of his body, Sputnik International reported.
Three people were pronounced dead at the scene following the arrival of the emergency and disaster response team, Volga said.
Russia's state-owned transport monopoly Transneft suspended oil throughput, the TASS news agency cited a company spokesperson as saying. The perimeter of the port was also closed while the tanker's cargo was unloaded, the spokesperson reportedly said.
“The company will provide all possible assistance with the investigation of the causes of the accident and the situation in the water area,” Volga said in the statement.
Tuesday’s incident is at least the second deadly tanker explosion and fire in 2019. In January, one crew member was killed and two were missing after the Vietnam-registered Aulac Fortune exploded as it was taking on fuel off of Hong Kong.