Skip to comments.Japanese oil tanker explodes in Hiroshima, captain still missing
Posted on 05/29/2014 7:32:51 AM PDT by thackney
A Japanese oil tanker located in the Himeji Port in western Hiroshima exploded on Thursday morning, causing the ship to catch fire. Seven of the ships eight crew members were rescued, with four suffering from severe burns, but the captain is still unaccounted for as of this writing.
The 998-tonne Shoko Maru had just finished unloading its crude oil cargo and was near the Hyogo Prefecture coast when the explosion occurred at around 9:30 AM. Fortunately, the tanker was almost empty, or else the damage would have been worse. According to Akihiro Komura, an official from Syoho Shipping who owns the ship, one of the crew members was removing paint by using a grinder which might have triggered the blast. He also confirmed that all eight on board were Japanese nationals and that the 7 were confirmed alive. All of them were brought to the hospital, with four being treated for serious injuries. They still have no word on the whereabouts of the 64-year-old captain, but will continue search and rescue operations.
When news broke about the explosion, Japans Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in parliament and interrupted an ongoing debate to break the news. Footage showed ships and aircraft fighting the fire that engulfed the ship with water cannons. Authorities assured the public that there was no danger to the other ships in the area since the tanker was stationed just outside the port area.
I didn’t know they made 998 ton crude carriers.
Small tanker, probably with empty tanks and the fumes ignited.
Why there hasn’t been an explosion in Hiroshima like that since 1945.
I was ready for it. *smirk*
That’s some hole in that boat...
An empty oil tank is much more dangerous than a full one. When you weld, cut, or grind on an empty vessel which had flamables inside, you first fill it with water to displace the potential fumes. If you can’t fill it with water, you fill it with an inert gas which prevents oxygen fom being available. Any fire needs three things. Heat, fuel source, and oxygen. Remove any one of those three and there is no fire risk.
Even the terrorists Oil is dangerous. Don’t they purge the tanks and fill with nitrogen?
It is tiny, as tanker ships go.
This may have been used for Lightering, unloading larger ship that cannot come into the port due to size.
Yes. Forgot to flood the tanks with Nitrogen to reduce explosion risk
I do not believe they do. The insides of the tanks are always considered a hazardous area. There would normally be no sparking equipment inside.
When maintenance has to be done, they need to be purged.
I know in Valdez, Alaska, the fumes coming off the ship being filled are directly captured and used for power generation. However in recent years, the slow rate of tankers required adding additional generation on diesel.
If it had been full, it wouldn’t have exploded. Empty ship is a fuel air explosive device.
That’ll buff right out. NOT.
The Japanese are known to smoke too much. Maybe someone lit up at the wrong time.
The most dangerous time is when the tanks are empty. The fuel air mixture is just right for an explosion.
My exact first thought. I’m an electrician in oil and gas industry, and I empty tanks are extremely dangerous. Then some guy is using a grinder? I mean geez, how dumb can one be?
after 69 years? i think not... :)
Sucks to be on the Shoko Maru.
Prayers for all on board.
Damn I didn’t know Godzilla was in town LOL!
I thought he still in Hollywood working on sequel to his blockbuster movie
This is why when you smell gas in any building DO NOT!!!! touch the light switch to turn on. The mechanical switch will arc-spark every time. You can’t see it but occasionally hear it, if it is very quiet. If the gas concentration is there, flipping the switch will set it off. Don’t touch anything except the doorknob as you leave immediately and even then be aware of static electricity when you grasp the doorknob.
Take your shoes off first if they have rubber soles.
That may sound silly but how many times in your life have you been shocked and sometimes saw the spark when you touched a dooknob.
I would not stop to take off my shoes. I would not recommend anyone else stop when they smell gas either.
If you have built up a static charge at the point, you won’t get rid of the charge that way. I often would shock my daughters wearing only my socks and dragging them on the carpet.
“Fortunately, the tanker was almost empty, or else the damage would have been worse.”
Someone does not understand the fuel/air/source triangle and LEL,UEL
Your comment to me is correct. Even socks can isolate and cause a static build up resulting in a spark. I should have been more detailed. Thanks for your comment.
When I worked at GE in Schenectady (more than thirty years ago) I learned some interesting things.
One interesting thing I learned was that the big electric generators that are used in utility plants (they are called "alternators") are insulated with hydrogen gas. This is because hydrogen has some very nice characteristics:
As a consequence of using so much pure hydrogen in the huge alternator casings (some of them are almost a hundred feet long and more than 20 feet diameter), we were taught that unless there is more than a certain amount of oxygen present, hydrogen is inflammable. IIRC, the danger line was at 7% oxygen.
In other words, as long as there was no more than 7% oxygen around, hydrogen can be thought of as an inert gas.
Sorry, I said “inflammable.” I should have said “not flammable.”
Yes. I always laugh at a tv show or movie where the hero knocks off a gas line and then 10 seconds later the whole house explodes.