On January 8, the 144 meter long, 17542 dwt tanker Aulac Fortune exploded and caught fire off Lamma Island near Hong Kong, China. The Aulac Fortune had arrived from Guangdong where it had unloaded a cargo of petrol. The tanker was off the shore of Lamma Island being refueled by an oil barge when there was a series of explosions onboard. The explosions had blown off several cargo hatches and ripped open part of the main deck. Fires and dense black smoke spilled out of the holds. One crewman was instantly killed in the blast. Twenty-three crew abandoned ship and were later rescued from the water. Two crew were reported as missing. Four crew were injured in the explosion and were taken to hospital for treatment.
Authorities dispatched 3 fireboats, helicopters and patrol vessels to the scene. The fireboats were able to bring the blaze under control using foam, but it will take several days before the hull has cooled sufficiently.
The Aulac Fortune developed a significant 30 degree list, but remains afloat. Authorities have launched an investigation and a search and rescue operation for the missing crew.
Update January 15
Authorities dispatched divers and rescue crews to the Aulac Fortune. Divers inspected several tanks which were filled with a mixture of water and petroleum. Rescuers combed through the jagged wreckage. Reports state a body of one crew was found on board and the other missing crew was found near the shoreline of Lantau Island. The Aulac Fortune is to be towed away from the anchorage off Hong Kong. No details if the tanker is to be repaired or scrapped.
On July 24, the 21 meter long passenger ship Boramar caught fire off Illa da Toxa, Spain. A short time after the Boramar left port, the catamaran suffered an explosion and resulting fire. Within seconds flames consumed the vessel forcing all 48 passengers and three crew to jump into the sea. Nearby boaters responded to the scene and pulled the survivors from the water. Spanish authorities responded to the scene with fire fighters and ambulances. Two medical helicopters, patrol boats and fire fighting vessels arrived to provide aid to the survivors and help extinguish the fire.
Some 38 persons sustained injuries with a small number suffering from severe burns. Reports state five persons were taken to hospital for treatment. Reports state all 51 on board were accounted for and there were no fatalities. Reports state the Boramar superstructure and hull was completely destroyed before the fire was brought under control.
The cause of the explosion and fire is still under investigation. The Boramar had only been put into service a week ago. Some reports have stated the catamaran had struck a small flat-bottom boat resulting in an explosion. Others witnesses say the explosion and fire started near the galley on the Boramar which may have been caused by a rupture in a pressurized gas cylinder. Authorities have launched an investigation into the incident.
The 60 meter long research vessel Geos caught fire off Kuala Baram, Malaysia. The fire started after an explosion in the engine room while doing offshore oil exploration. The fire quickly engulfed the research vessel forcing the crew to jump overboard into the sea. Authorities were alerted and quickly launched a search and rescue operation. Rescuers arrived on scene all pulled 37 of the 38 crew to safety. Two crew sustained injuries and were taken to hospital for treatment. One crew person was reported as missing.
Several tugs arrived a short time later and began to extinguish the blaze on the Geos. The tugs were able to contain the fire, but reports state there were several areas within the superstructure still on fire. Fire crews were expected to board the vessel and continue to extinguish the blaze. Reports state the owner and authorities have launched an investigation into the incident.