KOTA KINABALU: An explosion ripped through a tanker carrying methanol and berthed at Labuan early Thursday, leaving one crewman dead and four missing.
Police believe a lightning strike started the fire on board the Malaysian International Shipping Corporation-owned Bunga Alpinia 3 (pix) alongside the Petronas Methanol terminal in Labuan at about 3am.
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency confirmed the dead crewman as Shahril Azmi Baharuddin, 28.
His body was found floating in the sea at about 10am, said MMEA officer Awil Kamsari.
MISC said in a statement that the 29 crew members comprised of Malaysians and Filipinos.
Twenty-four were safely brought to shore, the statement said.
MMEA coordinating officer Lt Comm Azmi Mohd Dahan said three people a staff of Petronas, a member of the public and a crewmember sustained minor burn injuries.
Firemen who rushed to the scene were forced to withdraw when a series of explosions occurred.
Petronas Chemical Group Berhad media relations manager Ahmad Faiz A. Rahman confirmed that the fire occurred at the Petronas Chemical Methanol Sdn Bhd terminal.
"All authorities have been notified. The fire is being attended to by the Labuan fire department. We are undertaking all necessary action to ensure the safety of all personnel involved.
"An investigation will be carried out in due course," he said.