[cifnmedia] Tanker Explosion MD/VA Atlantic Ocean

  • From: Sean & Kimberly Aaron <cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: CIFN LIST <cifnmedia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2004 22:09:17 -0800 (PST)

PORTSMOUTH, Va.  — A tanker carrying 3.5 million gallons of industrial 
ethanol (search) exploded and sank about 50 miles off the Virginia coast 
Saturday, the Coast Guard said. At least three of the 27 crew members died and 
most of the others were missing.

Two people died among the eight transported by helicopter to Sentara Norfolk 
General Hospital, spokeswoman Vicky Gray said. The other six men were being 
evaluated, she said. 

Toni Keiser, a spokeswoman for Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin, Md., said a 
dead man from the tanker was brought to the hospital, and that two rescue 
divers were treated and released there for minor injuries. 

The Bow Mariner (search), a 570-foot tanker flying a Singapore flag, made an 
emergency call just after 6 p.m., saying there had been an explosion on board, 
said Petty Officer Stacey Pardini of the Coast Guard Atlantic (search) area in 
Portsmouth, Va. The ship had been headed to Houston from New York. 

The explosion occurred about 50 miles east of Chincoteague, Va., after a fire 
started on the deck of the ship, said Lt. Chris Shaffer of Ocean City (Md.) 
Emergency Services. 

"When the rescue divers got on the scene the fuel tanker was on fire, sinking 
and there was people in the water," Shaffer said. He added that the six 
survivors rescued were in critical condition. 

Three helicopters, three Coast Guard boats and a C-130 plane were searching for 

Coast Guard Senior Chief John Moss said late Saturday night that nine crew 
members were accounted for, including seven survivors. One survivor was picked 
up by a commercial fishing boat, he said. 

"We have no indication that this was anything other than an accident at this 
point," Moss said, adding that he didn't know what caused the explosion. 

Moss said the Coast Guard did not know how much of the ethanol was released 
into the water. 

Betty Turner, a nursing supervisor at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in 
Salisbury, Md., said her hospital had been notified to expect a victim who may 
have suffered burns. 

The ship is a chemical tanker, built in 1982 and owned by a Greek company, 
Ceres Hellenic Shipping Enterprises Ltd. A company spokesman confirmed the ship 
had a crew of 27 and said "there is no information yet on their fate." 

Sean A. Aaron (CIFN*1)
Central Illinois Fire Network

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