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THREE EXPLOSIONS: 1,000 evacuated from village, factories stop operations
LABUAN: ONE sailor was killed while four others were reported missing after three explosions rocked the ship they were on early yesterday.
Nineteen other crew members escaped unhurt. They were on the Port Klangregistered MISC ship MT BungaAlpinia, docked at the Petronas Methanol Labuan (PML) jetty in the Pulau Enoe industrial area.
Eyewitnessessaid they heard two explosions from the ship at 2.30am. A third blast occurred about 7am and could be heard 8km away.
Following the third explosion, more than 1,000 residents of the nearest village, Kampung Ranca-Ranca, were evacuated. Nearby factories also stopped their operations.
Labuan police chief Superintendent Saiman Kasran said the dead sailor was identified as Shahril Azmi Baharuddin, 28, from Malacca.
The four missing were Muhammad Nazrin Khamsani, 20, from Kuala Lumpur, Mohd Hanafi Khalil, 24, from Malacca, Zahari Hassim, 46, from Negri Sembilan, and Colanggoy Errol Calaluan, 22, from the Philippines.
Saiman said the cause of the fire had yet to be determined. Eyewitnesses said there was a thunderstorm when the first two explosions were heard.
It was learnt that the ship was being loaded with methanol through a pipeline at the time.
The ship was bound for Kobe and Kawasaki, Japan.
Labuan Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency chief coordinator Nor Azmi Mohd Dahin said the ship arrived here three days ago with 29 crew members and was due to leave tomorrow.
Five of the crew were out on the island as it was their day off while the others remained on board.
"The 25,000-tonne ship was 180m long and 32m wide. It had the capacity of 12,000 tonnes of methanol," Nor Azmi said.
The ship was about 150m from the PML plant at the time of the fire.
He said three people were also injured.
"One of them was a worker at the nearby Petronas plant, another at a nearby flour mill, while the third was a crew member identified as Ridzuan Ramatullah."
Labuan Fire and Rescue Department director Zainal Madasin said the vessel was towed by a tugboat away from the jetty while the firefighters worked on containing the fire. The fire was put out at 2.30pm.
A check with the Labuan Nucleus Hospital showed the injured were given outpatient treatment there.