Wednesday, October 18, 2006
An explosion on a fuel tanker in Mexico's Pajaritos petrochemical complex killed at least eight people but did not affect operations at the port, state oil monopoly Pemex said. The blast ripped through the tanker, called Quetzalcoatl, when a spark from maintenance works ignited fuel vapors in the ship's empty tanks. The Pajaritos complex is in Mexico's gulf coast state of Veracruz. It produced 529,000 tonnes of petrochemicals in 2005.
Mexican fuel tanker Quetzalcoatl is seen after the blast at Pemex's Pajarito terminal in the city of Coatzacoalcos, MexicoThe dead include three Pemex workers and three contractors from a firm called Lopez Garcia S.A. de C.V., who were repairing the ship. Two other casualties were unidentified. Pemex said nine others were injured in the blast. "The port operations are not affected, this was an isolated incident and everything is working normally," said Pemex spokesman Alejandro Gonzalez. Gonzalez said a fire caused by the explosion was under control. U.S tanker brokers said Quetzalcoatl is a 1979 built, 45,000-tonne capacity product tanker owned by the Mexican government and chartered to Pemex. It is mainly used for domestic fuel oil coastal trade.