A fire broke out early today on board a chemical/palm oil tanker of MISC Berhad in Labuan, causing a loud explosion which rocked Labuan, and has claimed one life as of now.
Three people were injured in the fire, which occurred on board the vessel, Bunga Alpinia, and an operation has been mounted to search for one missing person, according to a fire and rescue team.
The cause of the 2.30am incident is still under investigation.
Labuan has gained recognition as an oil and gas hub, and it is home to many international oil and gas companies.
MISC said in a statement that the 38,000 DWT IMO II vessel had 29 crew, comprising 23 Malaysians and six Filipinos. It said 24 of the crew had been brought to shore.
The vessel was alongside the Petronas Methanol Sdn Bhd terminal in Labuan when the incident took place at about 2.30am.
“No further details of the incident are available at this point,” the statement said.
It added that all authorities had been notified accordingly and MISC was working closely to render necessary assistance.
Firefighters were at the scene in an effort to put out the blaze, and the ship could be seen listing following the fire and explosion that rattled Labuan.
Search and rescue crew were also scrambling to locate the missing persons.
Meanwhile, in a statement, Petronas Chemicals Group Berhad said that it was undertaking all necessary action to ensure the safety of all personnel at its subsidiary, Petronas Chemicals Methanol Sdn Bhd, where the fire incident took place.
Following the incident, the operations of the Patau-Patau Power Station owned by Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) located adjacent to the terminal was temporarily halted for safety reasons.
SESB managing director Abdul Razak Sallim said this was to enable the fire and rescue personnel to take the necessary preventive and safety measures.
Channelling of gas stopped
The channelling of gas from Petronas Chemicals Methanol to the Patau-Patau power station was stopped immediately until after the situation returned to normal and it was safe, he said in a statement.
Abdul Razak said the temporary shutdown was expected to affect SESB’s capability to channel electricity to all consumers in duty-free Labuan.
He also said that several emergency measures to meet the shortfall in electricity generation capacity would be implemented, including Demand Side Management (DSM), during the period of peak demand.
Rationing of electricity supply would only be implemented in stages if the implementation of the DSM was unable to cope with the demand and the station could not operate at optimum capacity, he said.
The Patau-Patau Power Station has the capacity to generate 103.5MW of electricity, and is the only power station in the Federal Territory of Labuan.