HONG KONG • An oil tanker caught fire in Hong Kong's southern waters yesterday, killing one crew member and injuring four others, police said, with witnesses reporting a loud blast that shook windows several kilometres away.
The vessel, carrying oil and chemicals, caught fire in the late morning about one nautical mile south of Lamma Island.
Of the 26 people on board the Aulac Fortune, one man was found dead at the scene, while 23 were rescued from the sea. Two people remain missing.
Twenty-five of the crew members are Vietnamese, with the remaining one a Singaporean, who was slightly injured, according to the authorities.
Fire department commander Yiu Men Yeung said the ship was about to be refuelled by an oil barge when the accident occurred. He told reporters that the crew on the barge were "connecting the hoses for refuelling for the oil tanker, and then there were three explosions", before the ship burst into flames.
Ship tracking data shows the Vietnamese-flagged Aulac Fortune last loaded 6,000 tonnes of petrol, most of which had been delivered to Guangzhou between Sunday and Monday. The tanker later arrived south of Lamma Island and sent its position from there yesterday.
Residents of the nearby island of Lantau said they heard a big blast which rattled doors and windows. "It felt like when there is a strong typhoon, when the wind shakes your doors violently," said Ms Rhea Nee.