This Oil Tanker Fire Injured 22 People, Exploded Twice, Trapped More Onboard

An Indonesian oil tanker named Jag Leela caught fire before exploding twice this morning, sending at least 22 people into hospital care and leaving several trapped onboard.
Brad Bergan
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Two earth-shaking explosions rocked the Aframax crude oil tanker called the Jag Leela in the morning on May 11, throwing massive plumes of black smoke into the air and injuring at least 22 people, according to local police chief Dayan, who goes by one name, reports the Agence France-Presse in New Straits Times. A series of YouTube videos uploaded earlier today showed the vessel drydocked at the shipyard Belawan, Medan, in the Melacca Strait of northern Sumatra, Indonesia.


Oil tanker explodes into fire and smoke in Indonesia

In the morning on May 11, reports of thick black smoke from the aft of the vessel developed, which were soon followed by repeated explosions and a major inferno with worrying black smoke.

Videos of billowing smoke from the 1999-built tanker were later uploaded to YouTube, with reports of several workers missing and potentially trapped inside the vessel, while 22 other workers were immediately rushed to hospital with burns from the incident.

Flying an Indonesian flag, the 250-meters-long (roughly 820-foot-long), 21-year-old Aframax-class crude oil tanker caught fire during repair efforts in the shipyard, which reportedly spread to a second nearby vessel.

Jag Leela fire brought under control but not extinguished

Later reports said that the fire was brought under control, but remained active as of writing. Emergency personnel rushed the 22 injured sailors to a local hospital while dozens more remained trapped on the burning tanker, said Dayan, reports AFP.

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Local police and authorities have yet to determine the cause of the explosion, said Dayan to AFP. In addition to spreading to at least one other vessel, the blaze also caused minor damage to homes in the vicinity, added Dayan.

This comes amid a global recession in oil prices, as U.S. oil dropped nearly 300% and closed below $0 for the first time in history late last month, linked to the coronavirus crisis. As of writing, no word has yet surfaced as to the survival of the oil tanker sailors who remain onboard the Jag Leela.

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