A tragic incident occurred at a shipyard in Thailand when a product tanker undergoing maintenance exploded on the Mae Klong River south of Bangkok. The explosion occurred at 9:00 a.m. local time, causing sections of the ship to fly into the river and a large cloud of black smoke to rise from the vessel. Thai officials have reported that one or two people were killed, at least four were hospitalized, and as many as seven or eight are still missing.
The vessel involved in the incident, the Smooth Sea 22, is a 6,500 dwt product tanker that arrived at Port Mae Klong on January 8 after a trip from Bangkok. The ship, which carries clean cargo, had offloaded and moved to the shipyard for maintenance. The vessel, which was built in 2018, is 370 feet long. Reports indicate that as many as 16 crew members might have been aboard.
Thai officials have confirmed that one body has been found in the wreckage, and four individuals have been hospitalized. Unconfirmed reports suggest that a second body has also been found and that the search for missing individuals, believed to be workers at the Ruam Mitr Dockyard Company, is ongoing. At the time of the blast, as many as 30 people were believed to be working at the shipyards along the river.
Fire boats were deployed to the scene, and after about an hour, the fire was reported to be under control. However, images of smoke rising from the badly damaged ship were reported. Investigators believe the vessel was loaded with 25,000 liters of fuel and 20,000 liters of diesel, but there have been no reports of leaks or further pollution in the river.
— กองทัพเรือ ROYAL THAI NAVY (@prroyalthainavy) January 17, 2023
It is believed that welding work was being carried out on the vessel at the time of the blast. Thai officials have ordered the shipyards to suspend work, check the licenses, and possibly pursue legal action.
The Smooth Sea 22 is reported to be one of six vessels operated by the Smooth Sea Company of Bangkok. Last year, another of the company’s vessels, the Smooth Sea 2, also exploded, killing one crew member and injuring at least three others at a dock near Bangkok.