The 2242 dwt chemical tanker Shoko Maru exploded while in the Japan Sea off Kobe, Japan. The tanker was anchored with only ballast after off loading heavy oil at a nearby port when fumes from the cargo tanks exploded. Seven crew were rescued, but many suffered burns and were hospitalized. The master of the vessel was reported missing and presumed lost.
The Shoko Maru suffered extensive damage from the explosion and resulting fire. Coast Guard and fire fighting vessels were able to extinguish the blaze, but the tanker sustained too much damage and sank bow a short time later. Reports state the explosion was started by a spark while a crewman using a grinder to remove paint off the cargo deck.
- Explosion onboard Japanese Tanker Shoko Maru (worldmaritimenews.com)
- Shoko Maru Oil tanker Explosion, captain missing, 4 crew severely burned (maritimeshippingblog.wordpress.com)