Leaked Gas Kills Vietnamese Ship Crew; 3 Others Hospitalised At QEH I

Sabah Hazmat members come out of the MV Vimaru Pearl after carrying out a thourough inspection. A gas leak in the engine room killed one sailor and made unconscious three others. – Photo credit BOMBA Sabah

KOTA KINABALU – A Vietnamese engineer died from carbon monoxide poisoning, while three other seamen are warded at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital I here, where their conditions are said to be stable.

The dead seaman was identified as Hoang Van Chuyen.

The dead man has been identified as Hoang Van Chuyen, 33, but police declined to name the three others, who were sailors on board the Vietnamese-registered cargo vessel MV Vimaru Pearl.

All four were in the engine room at the time of the incident, which occurred in international waters on Sunday at 4.00am as the vessel laden with 6,300 tonnes of rice headed for the Philippines.

According to preliminary reports, Hoang had collapsed and was later pronounced dead on the ship itself, while the other three were rescued by crew mates and given first aid after the alarm was raised.

ACP Chandra

Kota Kinabalu city police chief, Assistant Commissioner M Chandra said the captain of the MV Vimaru Pearl opted to sail for Kota Kinabalu for assistance as it was the nearest port of call.

“The vessel docked at Kota Kinabalu just before 6pm Monday and the Hazmat (hazardous materials) team from the Fire and Rescue Department as well as ambulances were on standby,” said Chandra in a statement late Monday.

The three affected seamen were rushed to QEH I in separate ambulances.

Three other Vietnamese crew, aged between 27 – 32 were brought out unconscious but their conditions have since stabilised, according to Chandra.

The vessel departed Ho Chi Minh city on Thursday, with its rice cargo and 21 crew, including the captain. It was scheduled to reach the Philippines around 9.30am Tuesday.

The MV Vimaru Pearl, which was originally destined for the Philippines, made an emergency berthing at the Kota Kinabalu port following a gas leak that killed one sailor and affecting three others.

He said police received a call from a woman telling them of the death aboard the ship and that there were others who were also affected after inhaling the poisonous fumes.

After first aid was given to the three seamen who were carried out unconscious, the Captain reached the decision further medical attention was needed, and then radioed Kota Kinabalu port for assistance.

Hazmat officials bringing down the remains of the dead seamen. A post mortem is to be conducted early Tuesday.

Police are still investigating while the Hazmat team helped to clean up the gas leak and stabilise the situation on the cargo ship.

The remains of Hoang was also taken to QEH I where a post mortem will be carried out at 8.30am Tuesday.

An injured seaman being strapped in by Hazmat officials before being taken by ambulance to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Monday evening.