Bunga Alpinia Death Toll Rises to Three

The Bunga Alpinia ablaze in Labuan, Malaysia

The death toll in the chemical tanker fire in Malaysia has risen to three after two more bodies were recovered from the water not far from the burning tanker. Two crewmembers are sill missing.

As we reported yesterday the MT Bunga Alpinia, a 38,000 DWT chemical tanker owned by Malaysian International Shipping Company (MISC), exploded early Thurdsday morning after apparently being struck by lightning as it was loading methanol at the PETRONAS Chemicals Methanol terminal in Labuan, Malaysia. Reports indicate that the vessel was rocked by “three huge blasts” that could be felt across the small island in East Malaysia.

The blast initially sparked fears that the fire could ignite the nearby methanol silo.  An update from PETRONAS however indicates that the impact from the blast is “minimal” and is limited to “Plant 1” only. PETRONAS says that Plant 1 has a capacity of 0.7 million tonnes per year while Plant 2 has a capacity of 1.7 million tonnes.

The chemical and palm oil tanker had 29 people – made up of 23 Malaysians and 6 Filipinos – on board. 24 of them were brought ashore safely.

MISC reports that the fire onboard the Bunga Alpinia has been contained and further cooling efforts, along with a search for the two remaining crewmembers, are ongoing.  MISC has also identified the crewmember that was reported to have been killed yesterday as Shahril Azmi Bin Baharudin, a Greaser onboard Bunga Alpinia from Malaysia.

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