One dead and another seriously injured in hospital after ‘explosion in boiler room’ at Felixstowe docks

A person has died and another is seriously injured after an 'explosion in a boiler room' of a ship

A person has died and another is seriously injured after an 'explosion in a boiler room' of a ship - Credit: Archant

A crewman has died after a boiler backfired in the engine room of the Manhattan Bridge container ship as it was docking at Felixstowe port last night – causing an “explosion”.

A person has died and another is seriously injured after an 'explosion in a boiler room' of a ship

A person has died and another is seriously injured after an 'explosion in a boiler room' of a ship - Credit: Archant

Police and ambulance crews were called to the Trinity terminal at 11.45pm to reports one person had died during the incident.

The force have said that another crew member, thought to be a man, is seriously injured in hospital with severe burns.

The explosion happened in the engine room of the vessel at around 11.05pm.

A person has died and another is seriously injured after an 'explosion in a boiler room' of a ship

A person has died and another is seriously injured after an 'explosion in a boiler room' of a ship - Credit: Archant

Residents in the area said they heard a “massive explosion” in the ship while passing the docks.


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One wrote on social media: “Driving past a ship earlier and hear this massive explosion. Like thunder going off inside.”

Hannah Mortem said noise coming from the ship made her jump.

A person has died and another is seriously injured after an 'explosion in a boiler room' of a ship

A person has died and another is seriously injured after an 'explosion in a boiler room' of a ship - Credit: Archant

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“I’m over in Shotley and it made me jump and the shelving shudder, it was so loud,” she said.

“Rest in peace and thoughts with the affected families.”

Mark Mitchell said he heard the explosion from as far away as Rushmere St Andrew, while Dave Franklin said he heard and felt it on the Shotley Peninsula just after 11pm.

Mr Mitchell, who lives close to the Westerfield sports ground in Holly Lane, said: “I was standing at my front door having last smoke before going to bed then I heard the explosion clearly in the distance, my wife who was in bed also heard it through the double glazing.”

Felixstowe deputy mayor Nick Barber said he was “shocked” by the news.

“I am saddened by this, it is a real shock,” he said.

“I am sure most of the town will feel the same, just so sad for those involved.

“These types of things very rarely happen in the town and as long as I can remember I have never recalled anything of this kind happening on a ship rather than the tragic incidents we occasionally get on the dock side.

“I used to work on the haulage side down at the docks and I have never heard of anything like this happening before.

He added: “It is very, very rare incident and on behalf of the town and the council I would like to send our condolences to the family of the victims involved.”

The death is not being treated as suspicious and there will be a joint investigation carried out by the police and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

The Manhattan Bridge is a modern container ship and is currently sailing under the flag of Japan.

She was built in 2015 at 366 metres long and can carry up to 14,000 containers.

Operated by ‘K’ Line Europe, her next destination was due to be De Ham, the Port of Hamburg, and the estimated time of arrival was January 22 at 3am.

A company spokesman said: “‘K’ Line Europe regret to report an incident involving the 14,000TEU container vessel Manhattan Bridge took place in the Port of Felixstowe, UK at 11.05pm on January 19.

“Whilst berthing a boiler back-fire occurred in the engine room resulting in the fatality of one crew member; another seafarer was taken to hospital with non-critical injuries.

“Local authorities are at the scene and Marine Accident & Investigation Branch (MAIB) representatives are expected on board shortly to investigate the cause of the incident.

They added: “‘K’ Line Europe and all within the organisation wish to express their condolences to the family of the deceased and their sympathy with the crew of the vessel.”

Stay with us for updates on this breaking story as we receive them from the emergency services.

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