Shoko Maru, which suffered an explosion yesterday, has been reported sunk due to its damage. A search is ongoing for the captain of the vessel. Captain Masaichi Ando, age 64, has disappeared while other four crew members have suffered severe burns due to the explosion. The four sailors are in a hospital, two of them are unconscious. All crew members are Japanese.
The Shoko Maru sank (bow first) four hours after the blast, because it had a large hole in its hull. The vessel was reported submerged at 6:59 PM local time.
A spokesperson from Syoho Shipping Co (owner of the vessel), Akihiro Komura, said:
"I heard that a crew member was using a grinder to remove paint and that seems to have triggered the blast, which we believe could have occurred when the remnants of the oil caught fire.
“It is a Japanese ship and belongs to our company. All the crew members are Japanese nationals. We have confirmed seven out of the eight are alive and one, believed to be the captain, is still missing.”
According to the Japanese Coast Guard, there is a small quantity of oil floating near the site of the sinking. The amount has not been calculated. The Coastguard has set up an isolated 1,8-kilometer zone, but according to them, there is no danger for the other vessels in and around Himeli port.
Video of the explosion: