Harbour gas explosion leaves crew injured

Following an explosion on a ship docked in Table Bay Harbour, one person has died while four others were taken to hospital.

It is understood that late on Monday afternoon, a nitrogen tank exploded while the crew were working on the Realeka, a fishing trawler owned by the Oceana Group.

Oceana Group is one of Africa’s largest fishing companies with a history dating back hundreds of years.

According to a statement from Oceana Group Limited’s communications manager, Tiana Fataar, the gas explosion took place while a manufacturing crew was working on the ship.

She explains: “A manufacturing company was installing and testing new equipment onto our vessel Realeka as part of a vessel upgrade, alongside Elbow Quay, when an explosion occurred onboard.

Help: Oceana’s Tiana Fataar. Picture: supplied

“We regret to confirm that there has been a fatality. Two people are being treated for serious injuries and some for minor injuries.”

The City’s mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith, says emergency personnel immediately responded to the call for help but were informed to stand down

Smith confirms: “The Fire and Rescue Services of the City of Cape Town responded but were stood down by the Ports Authority and the owners of ship.”

However, he says a second request was received for emergency personnel to return to the location in order to ventilate the engine room of refrigeration gas, which can be an ammonia-containing combination.

Officers have also requested gas detection meters to monitor the site while a Hazmat technician was also believed to be on the scene.

Fataar says the incident will be fully investigated, but their priority now is to provide whatever assistance they can to the families of the victims.

She adds: “Our thoughts are with all the affected families, and we are working together with the manufacturer to provide whatever support is necessary.”

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi said contractors were busy with repairs on a trawler in Cape Town Harbour Monday when a fatal accident occurred, which left a male aged 49 deceased.

Swartbooi further added that the victim was declared deceased on the scene by the medical personnel.

“Five males who sustained injuries were transported to a nearby hospital for medical treatment,” he said.

He also said Table Bay harbour police registered an inquest for further investigation.

“We appeal to anyone with information of what transpired to please call Crime Stop on 08600 10111,” Swartbooi said.

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