A deadly maritime accident has killed several people during a ship repair job in China. Accounts differ but it is clear that either eight or ten people are dead. A further 19 were hospitalized and are believed to be in a serious condition, but stable.
The Fujian Shipping Company vessel Jinhaixiang was undergoing repair at 3pm (local time) on Saturday May 25, by Xixiakou Ship Repair, at Longyan Port, Rongcheng City, Shandong Province, the shipping company said in a statement.
It appears that, during the repair, the carbon dioxide injection system for ship-borne fire protection was somehow activated.
Carbon dioxide is notable for being an asphyxiant gas in sufficiently high quantities as it will displace normal air. As an odorless, invisible, gas it is somewhat notorious for causing fatalities among workers carrying out duties in enclosed spaces.
Initial blame appears to have fallen on the third officer of the Jinhaixiang who has been detained.
Rongcheng is approximately 378.34 miles southeast by east from the capital, Beijing. Longyan Port was built in 1990 and began commercial operations in 1994.
The Japan-built Jinhaixiang was constructed in 1994 and has a deadweight of 69,000 tons. Deadweight is the cargo carrying capacity of a ship measured in metric tons. A metric ton is equivalent to 2,204.6 U.S. pounds. The vessel had been booked in for what is described by the company as a five-yearly repair lasting for 22 days.
According to MarineTraffic, the ship (IMO 9118824) is Chinese-flagged and has a gross tonnage of 35,884. Gross tonnage refers to all the internal volume of a ship; it is a measure of space not weight. The ship has a length of just under 225 meters and a breadth of 32.2 meters.
An accident investigation is underway. Executives from Fujian Shipping Company are attending the accident site to help with the investigation, the company says.