U.S. Coast Guard: Two Dead in Bulk Carrier Explosion

bulk carrier tamar explosion
MV Tamar. Photo: Patrick Lawson

A second crewmember has died following an explosion aboard a bulk carrier in the North Atlantic as an emergency response continues for two others severely injured in the blast. 

The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed today that at approximately 7:45 p.m. EST Monday the Captain of the Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier MV Tamar reported that another crewmember had died from wounds sustained in the explosion.

The explosion occurred earlier Monday in the MV Tamar’s forward storeroom as the ship was sailing eastbound about 1,300 miles offshore from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The Captain initially reported that the explosion killed one crewmember and three others suffered massive burns.

The New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing pararescuers arrived on board the Tamar at about 9:30 p.m. Monday after deploying from a HC-130 with two small boats and advanced life-saving equipment. They are staying with the ship until medics can take over care of the injured crew, the Coast Guard said.

The Portuguese Coast Guard is scheduled to launch a helicopter and pick up the injured crew members and bring them to Ponta Delgada. They are expected to be within range of the Azores, Portugal within 24 hours.

On Monday, the U.S. Coast Guard said the Canadian Coast Guard had also diverted two warships with physician assistants aboard. They were expected to arrive overnight.

The fire resulting from the explosion was extinguished and the cause is unknown, the Coast Guard said Monday.

The 623-foot MV Tamar, 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.