Early statements from local police that only five people had suffered relatively minor injuriesafter tanker Jag Leela (IMO 9173654) exploded and caught fire (the exact order of events remaining uncertain) while she was undergoing maintenance at a shipyard in Indonesia on May 11th, have proved incorrect. Seven people were now confirmed to have died as a result of the incident
Jag Leela was docked at the Belawan shipyard in Sumatra, when most reports said that several explosions were heard prior to billowing black smoke emanating from the ship. However, it was possible that an internal fire was underway prior to the explosions.
Local agencies managed to extinguish the fire later that day, but thick smoke hampered rescue and evacuation attempts. On May 12th the police revised upwards their initial assessment. A report revealed that there were 60 workers on site at the time of the incident of whom 22 sustained injuries and seven were declared dead. The death toll could rise further.
“The deceased were among those trapped during the blaze. They didn’t find a way out,” said local police spokesman MP Nainggolan, adding that DNA tests were being performed to identify badly burned victims, and some crew were still missing.
The directorate general said that a detailed investigation into the incident has been launched, while adding that the likely cause of the fire was sparks from short-circuits in an oil tank.
The North Sumatra Police later identified the seven dead as Iman Maulana, 23; M. Nur Kasim Siregar, 37; Bahtiar Asmawi Siregar, 28; Iswondo, 46; Buchari, 34; Iwan Setiawan Hasibuan, 32; and Sandi Nova, 24. Five were residents of Medan, while the remaining two, who were brothers, were residents of Deli Serdang.
The police forensic team was still unable to investigate the scene as the temperature inside the tanker ship was still too high.
1999-built, Indonesia-flagged, 58,374 gt Jag Leela is owned and managed by Waruna Nusa Sentana PT of Jakarta, Indonesia.