Malaysia rescuers search for crew from burning naphtha tanker

19 August 2009 13:03  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Rescue teams are still searching for nine missing crew members from a tanker carrying 58,000 tonnes of naphtha which caught fire off Malaysia after colliding with another vessel, the country's maritime agency said on Wednesday.

“We are still looking for the nine crew members of the Formosa but we suspect that the crew are still in the vessel,” said a spokesman for the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.

“The fires were very big and the ship is very hot, so if they are on board there is a strong chance they will not be alive,” he added.

The Liberian-registered MV Formosaproduct Brick collided with bulk carrier Ostende Max around 20 nautical miles off Port Dickinson at 21:00 local time (13:00 GMT) on Tuesday.

The vessel caught fire and was pulled clear of shipping lanes. The crew was reported to consist of 23 Chinese nationals and two Taiwanese. Sixteen of the 25 crew members have since been rescued.

“The ship is still on fire, but the major fire has been put out. The small fire is still on-going, and once it is put out, the ship will require 24 hours to cool down before being approached. It is currently drifting, but we are monitoring it,” said the spokesman.

“There are currently no reports of an oil spill, but we will take a fresh look in the morning,” he added.

The cargo had been heading for South Korea to be supplied to end users Honam Petrochemical, LG Chem and Yeochun Naphtha Cracking Centre (YNCC), according to a report on newswire Reuters.

Naphtha cracks in Asia moved up by more than $10/tonne on Wednesday to $108.40/tonne as a result of the incident, market players said.

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