3rd oil tanker body found, 5 workers still missing

3rd oil tanker body found, 5 workers still missing

The tanker Smooth Sea 22 burns after the explosion, at a dockyard on the Mae Klong river in Muang district, Samut Songkhram, on Tuesday morning. (Photo: @EasternFireFighters Facebook)
The tanker Smooth Sea 22 burns after the explosion, at a dockyard on the Mae Klong river in Muang district, Samut Songkhram, on Tuesday morning. (Photo: @EasternFireFighters Facebook)

SAMUT SONGKHRAM: The body of another worker killed by the explosion and fire aboard an oil tanker at a dockyard on the Mae Klong river on Tuesday was found on Wednesday morning, raising the confirmed death toll to three with five people still unaccounted for.

The explosion occurred about 9.25am on Tuesday while the tanker Smooth Sea 22 was moored for annual maintenance at Ruammitr Dockyard in tambon Laem Yai, Muang district. At the time, 27 dock workers were on board or near the vessel. Many were initially reported missing, but most were later accounted for.

A search was launched involving rescuers from several foundations. Two charred bodies were found on Tuesday.

About 9.10am on Wednesday a third body was found in the river and brought ashore at Wat Pak Samut pier, raising the number of those conirmed killed to three.

Polaseth Laohakanvanich, leader of a rescue team, confirmed three workers had been found dead. He said four others were injured and five were still missing. Two of those killed were workers from Myanmar, idenified only as Thui and Ako. The third had not been identified.

The search team also found a severed human right ankle. It was not known which body it came from.

Sorapong Paithoonpong, deputy permanent secretary for transport, said the Marine Department would investigate the explosion and consider compensation for thise people affected by the powerful blast.

Puripat Teerakulpisuth, deputy director-general of the Marine Department, said he had set up a committee to investigate and its findings were expected in 10 days. The tanker's crew, safety officers from Ruammitr Dockyard and others would be questioned.

The Smooth Sea 22 tanker is covered by insurance policies with two companies - H & M and P & I Club. The policy with H & M is for 60 million baht and is valid until March 26. The other, with P & I Club, provides coverage of US$1 billion and is valid until Feb 20.

The Marine Department would consult the company, Smooth Sea, and agencies in Samut Songkhram on compensation for the injured and families of those killed, other people affected by the explosion. Houses on both sides of the river were damaged by flying debris and the shockwave from the blast.

Samut Songkhram governor Somnuek Promkhieo said he had assigned the Laem Yai tambon administration organisation to set up a complaints centre at Wat Pak Samut in tambon Laem Yai, where people could register for compensation.

About 60 houses in tambon Laem Yai and 11 in tambon Bang Chakreng, Muang district, were initially found to have been damaged. They would be inspected and compensation provided soon as possible, Mr Somnuek said.

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