Ship sinks, two crew members killed in Beirut explosion

Ship sinks, two crew members killed in Beirut explosion 

 

Two crew members of the Orient Queen cruise ship have been killed in the deadly blast that rocked Beirut, Lebanon on Tuesday.

The Orient Queen has now partially sunk next to the pier, across from the blast site at the port of Beirut.

The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that information from its Embassy in Beirut indicated that two seafarers from the Orient Queen have died.

The seafarers were among a group of 13 Filipinos reported to be on the Orient Queen when the blast occurred. As of the latest update, 10 of 11 seafarers initially reported missing have been located and are now with the management of the shipping company Abu Merhi Cruises, which operates the Orient Queen.

One seafarer is still missing, the agency said.

Among those located, most suffered minor injuries while one is in critical but stable condition.

Tuesday’s blast originated in a warehouse containing 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate which arrived at the port in 2014 aboard the MV Rhosus.

The initial blast badly damaged the Orient Queen, which began listing and sank overnight. Aerial photos and other media on Wednesday showed the ship capsized at its berth.

The MS Orient Queen was built in 1989 with capacity for 300 guests and 153 crew members. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were no passengers on board and most likely a limited number of crew.

AIS data shows the ship arrived in Beirut on June 27.