November 22, 2012 11:58
An explosion on a North Korean cargo ship at anchor in Hong Kong waters has left two sailors badly burned and three others hurt, Chinese media reported Wednesday.
They said the ship's engine room suddenly caught fire around 9 a.m. on Tuesday when the vessel was sitting south of Tsing Yi Island. The accident injured five crewmen, with two in critical conditions.
Hong Kong authorities rescued the crew by helicopter and are investigating the cause of the incident. The 1,485-ton, 77 m-long ship was carrying no cargo at the time.
A shipping expert here speculated that poor maintenance may have caused the engine room to fill with fuel gas or the engines were overheated. But given that North Korea has in the past smuggled weapons via Hong Kong, it cannot be ruled out that explosives stashed in the engine room blew up.
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