Explosion Aboard Bulk Carrier in North Atlantic; One Dead, Three Badly Burned

bulk carrier tamar explosion
MV Tamar. Photo:

Update: Second Crewmember Dies, Emergency Response Continues

A multi-national emergency response is underway following an explosion aboard the Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier Tamar in the North Atlantic some 1,300 miles off the coast of Cape Cod.

One crew member has died and and three others are badly wounded.

The U.S. Coast Guard is coordinating with the New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing and the Canadian and Portuguese Coast Guards to provide a medical emergency response for crewmembers of the vessel.

The U.S. Coast Guard the captain of the 623-foot bulk carrier Tamar contacted watchstanders at approximately 7 a.m. EST reporting an explosion in the ship’s forward storeroom. He also reported the explosion killed one crewmember and three suffered massive burns and are in need of immediate medical attention.

The Coast Guard reached out to their partner agencies to coordinate the emergency response. The New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing launched an HC-130 aircrew with six pararescuers and one combat rescue officer. The air crew is estimated to reach the Tamar at approximately 6:30 p.m., the Coast Guard said. The pararescuers will jump from their HC-130 with a small boat and advanced life-saving equipment to provide medical treatment for the crewmembers.

The Canadian Coast Guard has diverted two warships with physician assistants aboard estimated to arrive after midnight.

The fire resulting from the explosion is extinguished and the cause is unknown, the Coast Guard reported.

The vessel, which is sailing from Baltimore to Gibraltar, is continuing on its transit to the Azores, Portugal. The ship’s engineering plant was unaffected by the explosion and fire. 

The First Coast Guard District is responsible for 1,300 miles of offshore search and rescue area. After 1,300 miles, the Portuguese Coast Guard assumes coordination authority for cases east of the boundary, the Coast Guard noted.