Explosion on Chinese bulk carrier off Gibraltar

Gibraltar authorities have launched an investigation into the cause of an explosion aboard cargo ship CSSC Cape Town (IMO 9853888), off Gibraltar on February 19th. Two sailors were seriously injured in the accident, with two more suffering minor injuries.

Rescue crews from Gibraltar treated two of the injured on board, while the two more seriously hurt crew members, both of whom were suffering from serious burns, were flown ashore to hospital.

It was not yet known for sure where the explosion on board the CSSC Cape Town occurred, but it was believed to have hit the front of the ship.

The vessel was en route from Baltimore, USA to Port Said, Egypt at the time the accident occurred.

At the weekend CSSC Cape Town was unable to anchor, but was fully operational with the exception of its anchor equipment. By Monday February 22nd AIS data showed the ship as being anchored in the Bay of Gibraltar.

CSSC Cape Town is loaded with 112,365mt of coal which it had loaded at Curtis Bay Coal Terminal in Baltimore, Maryland. The port authorities said that the cargo did not pose a hazard to the vessel. No foul play was suspected, the port authority said.

The CSSC Cape Town was delivered in May 2020 by Chinese state-owned shipbuilder CSSC Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding. The ships 19 crew members were all Chinese nationals.

“The Gibraltar Port Authority extends its gratitude to all agencies, authorities and individuals who have assisted in dealing with this incident,” the Gibraltar Port Authority said, adding that it “also extends its gratitude to the Port of Algeciras for its kind offer of assistance in dealing with the casualties sadly involved in this incident.”

2020-built, Hong Kong-flagged, 66,786 gt CSSC Cape Town is owned by Fortune Central Shipping care of manager CSSC (Hong Kong) Shipping Co Ltd of Hong Kong, China. ISM manager is Wah Kwong Ship Management HK of Hong Kong, China. It is entered with Swedish Club.