AN EXPLOSION has rocked a Hong Kong registered merchant ship in the Bay of Gibraltar, according to reports. The incident happened on Friday evening as the ship, a bulk carrier, entered British Gibraltar Territorial Waters. Initial reports suggest that several crew members have been injured.
The explosion appeared to be in the front part of the ship, an area known as the forecastle.
As yet there are no clues as to the cause of the explosion.
There is no fire on board the vessel, which is loaded with coal.
The Gibraltar Port Authority has deployed paramedic assistance.
Gibraltar is located on a major shipping route and is one of the largest fuelling ports in the Mediterranean.
The Bay of Gibraltar opens to the south into the Strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea.
Sovereignty over the waters are the focus of a longstanding dispute between the UK and Spain.
The merchant ship was carrying out a fuelling operation while anchored in British waters of the Bay.
Initial reports estimated that around 1,000 litres of fuel oil leaked into the sea.
The GPA’s Bunkering Superintendent is now investigating the incident, and the ship’s operator could face legal action.