LABUAN, July 26 — A fire broke out early today on board a chemical/palm oil tanker of MISC Berhad here, causing a loud explosion which rocked Labuan, and has claimed one life as of now.
Three people were injured in the fire, which occurred on board the vessel, Bunga Alpinia, and an operation has been mounted to search for one missing person, according to a fire and rescue team.
The cause of the 2.30am incident is still under investigation.
Labuan has gained recognition as an oil and gas hub, and it is home to many international oil and gas companies.
MISC said in a statement that the 38,000 DWT vessel has a crew of 29, comprising 23 Malaysians and six Filipinos. It said 24 crew members had been brought to shore.
The fire also caused an explosion aboard the vessel which was at the jetty of the Petronas Chemicals Methanol Sdn Bhd terminal near Pulau Enoe in the Rancha-Rancha Industrial Zone.
According to a source at the emergency unit of Labuan Hospital, the dead man was Malaysian Syahril Azmi Baharudin, who had succumbed to burns.
Federal Territory of Labuan Fire and Rescue Department director Zainal Madasin said 64 firemen were continuing to fight the blaze on the tanker, which was seen to be listing.
Petronas Chemicals Group Berhad said in a statement that it had taken all necessary measures to ensure the safety of all personnel at its subsidiary, Petronas Chemicals Methanol Sdn Bhd, near where the fire incident took place.
A nearby building owned by Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) suffered damage to the ceiling, windows and doors due to the resulting strong vibrations from the blast.
Following the incident, the operations of the Patau-Patau power station owned by Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) located adjacent to the terminal were temporarily halted for safety reasons.
SESB managing director Abdul Razak Sallim said this was to enable fire and rescue personnel to take the necessary preventive and safety measures.
The channelling of gas from Petronas Chemicals Methanol to the Patau-Patau power station was stopped immediately until after the situation returns to normal and it is safe, he said in a statement.
Abdul Razak said the temporary shutdown was expected to affect SESB’s capability to channel electricity to all consumers in duty-free Labuan.
He also said that several emergency measures to meet the shortfall in electricity generation capacity would be implemented, including Demand Side Management (DSM), during the period of peak demand.
Rationing of electricity supply would only be implemented in stages if the implementation of the DSM was unable to cope with the demand and the station could not operate at optimum capacity, he said.
The Patau-Patau power station has the capacity to generate 103.5MW of electricity, and is the only power station in the Federal Territory of Labuan. — Bernama