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KPA clears the air on oil tanker vessel explosion at the port

An explosion onboard an oil tanker vessel, MT East Wind, at the Port of Mombasa temporarily disrupted business within a section of the Port of Mombasa yesterday after a fire broke out following the incident.

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and Mombasa County Emergency Services responded swiftly to the crisis that caused extensive damage to the vessel’s upper deck and nearby buildings made of glass walls.

Mombasa Central Subcounty Police Commander Maxell Agoro confirmed the incident and said that they have launched investigations into the cause of the explosion which led to a fire inside the ship berthed near the African Marine Terminal, Liwatoni area in Mombasa County.

“There was a loud bang which ignited a fire that destroyed sections of the vessel. There are no casualties though. We have launched investigations together with marine agencies to find out what went wrong,” he said.

Kenya Ports Authority through a press statement to the media said that the vessel, which is a local coaster, was lying alongside a privately owned African Marine General engineering Company (AMGECO) ship repair yard in Mombasa Port.

According to the Corporate Communication Division, the KPA firefighting team contained the fire by 1235hrs nearly an hour after the incident was reported by the master of the ship to the KPA control tower.

“The instant response by the tugboat and fire brigade on the shore ensured normalcy, the cause of the fire according to the master was likely to be an electric fault,” read the statement.

The master of the ship is said to have confirmed to the authority that the incident resulted in one minor head injury to a crew member who was on deck watch and was rushed to the hospital.

MT East Wind operates between Mombasa, Zanzibar and Tanga.

According to KPA, the ship’s last voyage was from Tanga where she had offloaded PMS products but currently the vessel is empty.

KPA Managing Director Captain William Ruto commended the crew for successfully containing the fire by 1235hrs.

“The fire brigade continued to monitor the situation where they left at around 1450hrs after confirming the situation was normalized and safe,” he added.

By Chari Suche

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