MV CSSC Cape Town. Photo: MarineTraffic.com/Peter Beentjes

Two Seriously Injured in Blast on Chinese Bulk Carrier Off Gibraltar

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 3372
February 22, 2021

An investigation is underway into an explosion aboard a bulk carrier of Gibraltar that resulted in serious injuries to two crew members.

The explosion occurred on board the Hong Kong-flagged CSSC Cape Town late Friday night at was under in the Bay of Gibraltar en route from Baltimore, U.S.A. to Port Said, Egypt.

An update from the Gibraltar Port Authority said four crew members were injured in the blast, including two who had to be medically evacuated to Seville due to the severity of their burns.

As of Saturday, the Gibraltar Port Authority reported CSSC Cape Town was unable to anchor, but was fully operational with the exception of its anchor equipment. On Monday, AIS data showed the ship was anchored in the Bay of Gibraltar.

The port authority has confirmed that the CSSC Cape Town is loaded with 112,365 metric tonnes of coal which it had loaded at Curtis Bay Coal Terminal in Baltimore, Maryland, adding that the cargo did not pose a hazard to the vessel. No foul play is suspected, the GPA said.

Technicians were expected to visit the vessel to conduct repairs to the ship’s anchor system, it said. Classification and flag state representatives and surveyors will also carry out their own investigations aboard the vessel.   

The CSSC Cape Town is a modern 120,000 DWT bulk carrier and was only recently delivered in May 2020 by the Chinese state-owned shipbuilder CSSC Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding.

The ship had 19 crew members all of whom were Chinese nationals.

“The Gibraltar Port Authority extends its gratitude to all agencies, authorities and individuals who have assisted in dealing with this incident,” the Gibraltar Port Authority said in a statement. “The GPA also extends it gratitude to the Port of Algeciras for its kind offer of assistance in dealing with the casualties sadly involved in this incident.”

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