Palmali’s chemical/oil products tanker Araz River had to turn back to Vasto Port, Italy in the morning of February 5, with one crew member dead and another two heavily injured with immediate need of hospitalization, after a work accident on board.
The accident on the Russian-flagged tanker occurred while the vessel was sailing in the Adriatic sea between the ports of Vasto and Ortona.
The chemical/oil products tanker left Vasto after offloading a large quantity of canola oil. The three seamen were tasked with cleaning one of the vessel tanks. According to reports of local news media, a solvent used for cleaning of the tanks reacted with remains of previous cargo in form of a toxic vapor, which caused the heavy intoxication of the three seamen.
An immediate distress call was issued by the ship’s master and an emergency team was waiting in port of Vasto to collect the injured people. Unfortunately, a 24-year old seaman died, the other two 42 and 28-years old were hospitalized in serious condition.
The vessel was detained by the local marine authorities for further investigation. The tank was sealed immediately after the tragedy and it was opened hours later by a special firefighting team, which entered the area with special equipment to investigate the substance which caused the accident.