7 Dead After Oil Tanker Explodes

oil tanker explosion ningbo yongjiang
(c) REUTERS/China Daily

Oct. 12 (Bloomberg) — An oil tanker exploded while undergoing repairs at an eastern China shipyard, killing seven people, injuring one, and causing oil to leak into the Yongjiang River, Xinhua News Agency reported today.
The blast happened about 8:40 a.m. local time as the 300- ton ship was being repaired at the Zhangjianqi shipyard in the Zhenhai District of Ningbo city in Zhejiang Province, Xinhua reported. The cause of the explosion is under investigation and the amount of oil leaking isn’t known, according to the report.

All fires were extinguished by about 2 p.m., according to a post on the city’s official news website news.cnnb.com.cn. Six vessels have been deployed to contain the leak, Xinhua reported, citing the provincial maritime affairs bureau.

The ship, Xuyang 11, started service in April 2005, according to the government website. It didn’t say whether the tanker was fully loaded at the time of the explosion.

Zhenhai is home of Sinopec Zhenhai Refining and Chemical Company, owned by China Petroleum and Chemical Corp., known as Sinopec. The refinery can process as much as 23 million tons of crude a year, according to the refiner’s website. Lv Dapeng, Sinopec’s Beijing-based spokesman, didn’t answer two calls to his office outside regular business hours today.

The 131-kilometer (81-mile) long Yongjiang River is a major source of drinking water to Ningbo city’s population of more than 7 million people, according to Xinhua.

– Aibing Guo, Copyright 2013 Bloomberg.