Assurance on training of sailors after blast

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 August, 2005, 12:00am

Sailors are provided with enough guidelines and training to work on ships carrying dangerous goods, a Marine Department spokesman said yesterday, a day after the death of a seaman in an explosion.

He was commenting as police and marine officers continued to investigate the cause of the explosion on a 35-metre boat that killed one sailor, 47, and seriously injured his nephews on Monday.

'We are still trying to identify the cause of the explosion with other departments,' he said.

'If there is room for improvement, we will follow advice according to findings in the investigation report.

'We believe we have provided sufficient guidelines to sailors working on board. Our department's officers also have conducted thorough inspections on ships before giving them permits to carry dangerous goods.'

Officers from the police force and the Marine Department, including a surveyor of ships and a ship inspector, went to the Western District Public Cargo Working Area to inspect the boat.

They took pictures and examined the structure of the ship from which about 200kg of goods were removed for investigation on Monday.

The Marine Regional Crime Unit is investigating the blast as a vessel on fire case.

The two nephews, who suffered burns to more than 50 per cent of their bodies, remained in Queen Mary Hospital last night. The 35-year-old was in critical condition and the 42-year-old in serious condition.

The boat was in the Western Dangerous Goods Anchorage when a fire broke out in one of 20 cartons of fireworks, which were left over from the weekend's Symphony of Lights show. The fireworks were awaiting transfer to the mainland on the vessel, which was licensed to carry such goods.