Oil tankers explode off South Korea, Albania

A large South Korean oil tanker was sunk in a deadly explosion on Sunday, January 15, according to The Associated Press.

The 4,198-ton tanker ship exploded along the western coast of South Korea, killing at least five crew members. The nation's coast guard managed to rescue five of the crew members, but six others remain missing as rescue crews continue to search.

When the ship blew it was carrying 80 tons of Bunker-C oil and 40 tons of diesel fuel. Though the cause of the explosion remains uncertain, the oil tanker's captain suggested it could have been caused by static electricity in a storage area where the crew were working.

Because the ship was a substantial distance from the maritime border with North Korea, no foul play is suspected. North Korea has been accused of attacking South Korean ships in the past, though it denies such claims.

Potential concerns about the safety of the current fleet of oil tankers were only highlighted by the subsequent explosion of a Sierra Leone ship near Albania on Monday, January 16, according to Bloomberg. That explosion killed two sailors.

Prospects for the global oil tanker industry can be found at PennEnergy's Research area.

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