Oil tanker on fire off Hong Kong after explosion

Chemical/oil product tanker Aulac Fortune (IMO 9541277) caught fire shortly before midday local time yesterday, January 8th following a significant explosion on board while the vessel was near Hong Kong’s Lamma Island.

The vessel had arrived in Hong Kong from Dongguan earlier in the morning. The explosion occurred in the dangerous goods anchorage south of Lamma.

Local authorities sent out rescue boats, firefighting vessels and a helicopter for the rescue operations and managed to save 24 crew who jumped or fell from the ship. At least one crew was reported dead and three others were missing, according to local reports.

The vessel began to capsize after the explosion. Firefighting and search operations were ongoing.

The explosion occurred near Turtle Beach, one of very few nesting grounds in southern China for endangered sea turtles, to the south of Lamma Island.

Aulac Fortune loaded 6,000 tonnes of gasoline, most of which was delivered to Guangzhou between January 6th and 7th.

The Aulac Fortune later arrived south of Lamma Island and sent its position from there at 0500 GMT on Tuesday.

Residents on the island of Lantau nearby said that there was a big blast which rattled doors and windows.

2010-built, Vietnam-flagged, 11,290 gt Aulac Fortune is owned and managed by Aulac Corp of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It is entered with West of England Club (Claims Contact Hong Kong) on behalf of Aulac Corp.