An explosion on board the chemical tanker ‘Royal Diamond 7' killed a South Korean crew member and injured six, including two foreigners and four Indians, on Saturday morning near the Mumbai coast. The Directorate General of Shipping (DG Shipping) has ordered an inquiry into the matter as there was another explosion in the same storage area of the vessel just a week ago. There were no casualties or injuries then.

“It is slightly surprising that there was an explosion in the same storage area. We have ordered an inquiry,” Satish Agnihotri, Director General of Shipping, told The Hindu on Saturday.

Munhyeon Seok (57), who was the bosun on the vessel, succumbed to the burns while he was being shifted from J.J. Hospital to Masina Hospital on Saturday afternoon. “The South Korean Consulate has been informed of the unfortunate incident,” a press note issued by the Mumbai Port Trust stated.

The names of the injured include South Korean national Kim Song Hun (29) and Filipino Alota Artar Durka (34). Both the crew members are undergoing treatment at the state-run J.J. Hospital. The four Indian workers who suffered injuries are Shobhnath Jagannath Yadav (36), Rajesh Yamuna Raut (36), Sunny Bholanath Rawat (35) and Tirath Matadin Rawat (35), the police said.

The case is being handled by the Yellowgate police station.

According to the police, the Marshall Island-flagged Korean chemical tanker was anchored at Tanker Anchorage-1 of Butcher Island near the Mumbai coast when the incident took place. “The ship was in front of jetty no.4,” said a police official who conducted the panchnama.

“At 11.25 a.m today [Saturday], the tanker reported to the Mumbai Port's Vessel Traffic System/Control Station that an explosion had occurred and that three crew members have been injured. Immediately, a tug was despatched to bring the injured to shore,” the press release stated.

“When the crew and other labourers were cleaning the area near a gas pipeline carrying toluene liquid, the explosion took place. The four Indians injured in the explosion are local labourers hired by the company,” a senior police official said.

Naval boats patrolling the area rushed to the spot. According to Navy officials, soon after the explosion, some of the crew members jumped into the sea. Two of them were picked up by Naval boats while the others were picked up by the marine police.

Port Trust officials said the fire caused by the explosion was brought under control immediately and the situation was restored to normality by 1 pm.

The senior management of the port later visited the chemical tanker and assessed the situation.

“It has now been decided to shift the tanker to Outer-Anchorage,” the MbPT press note stated.

There was an accidental fire on-board the vessel on March 17 when it had discharged a consignment of 2000 tonnes of toulene imported by Aegis Chemicals Limited at New Pir Pau Pier of the Mumbai Port Trust.

The fire was immediately brought under control then and the chairperson of the port had appointed the deputy chairperson to conduct an inquiry. The vessel was anchored at Tanker Anchorage-One at Mumbai harbour since March 19, the port authorities said.