Thursday, April 26, 2007

Explosion On Oil Tanker In Indonesian River Kills 4 Crew Members

Sparks from faulty electronics ignited the fuel hold of an empty oil tanker navigating a Sumatran river, triggering an explosion that killed four crew members, a police spokesman said Thursday. The MT Maulana, leased by Indonesian state-owned oil giant PT Pertamina, had delivered a load of diesel fuel and was returning to port Wednesday afternoon when the blast went off in the machine room, said police investigator Darul Qotnu. He said 12 survivors, including the captain, were being questioned.It took firefighters about two hours to bring the blaze under control, Qotnu said. Tugboats had towed the charred wreckage of the 1,500-ton ship out of traffic lanes on the Siak river, which connects the regional port directly to the Malacca Strait, one of the world's busiest waterways, he said. The incident occurred about 900 kilometers (560 miles) northwest of the capital Jakarta.

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