Blast from burning ship hurt 25

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Smoke billows from the burning cargo ship ‘KMTC Hong Kong’ Saturday, 25 May 2019. (TSLM)

BANGKOK, Thailand — A fire erupted on a cargo ship docked at a port in Thailand, triggering a blast and leaving at least 25 workers suffering from smoke inhalation and other injuries, officials said Saturday.

The district around Laem Chabang deep-sea port in Chonburi province, located two hours south of capital Bangkok, has been declared a “danger zone”, said port director Yuthana Mokkhao.

The fire broke out on Saturday at 6.35 am (23:35 GMT Friday) on the cargo ship named KMTC Hong Kong, which was moored to the port terminal.

Photos circulated on Thai media showed thick smoke billowing from the freight ship as the fire blazed.

Yuthana said people on the port were “affected by smoke inhalation and hit by small shrapnel from the containers”.

At least 25 port workers suffered from minor injuries or irritation from the fire, said Sivaporn Buapong, chief of Chonburi province’s Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department.

“The situation is under control now … Forensic police will investigate the cause of the fire,” Sivaporn told AFP.

The deep-sea port is an integral part of an ambitious $45 billion infrastructure scheme by Thailand’s junta known as the “Eastern Economic Corridor” (EEC) to transform the coastal area into a tech hub.

Over 7 million containers are transported through Laem Chabang port annually, according to the EEC’s website.

Under the new scheme, the port is due to expand with four new container berths, which the junta expects to more than double freight traffic to 18.1 million containers per year.

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