A large explosion on the Rock Of Gibraltar has led to a number of injuries, one serious.
An explosion on the north dock, known as the North Mole, of the cruise liner terminal in Gibraltar on Tuesday 31st May 2011 has led to two injuries, one serious on the dock and a number of injuries, all light, on a nearby cruise liner. The British colony, situated on the southern tip of Spain is a popular docking point for cruise ships entering and leaving the Mediterranean Sea.
The explosion is believed to have occurred in two storage tanks on the dock which burst into flames. The injured are reported to be a dock worker, who suffered serious burns and who has been transferred to hospital in Seville and a police officer who went to his rescue. The police officer suffered less serious injuries and has returned to work.
The authorities in Gibraltar ordered that cruise liner ‘Independence of the Seas’ which was sited in the area of the fire move out to sea for safety reasons. The owners of the ship, Royal Caribbean, have said that ten passengers on board the ship were treated for minor injuries on board the ship.
The tanks that exploded contained, according to several media reports, hydrocarbons left over following the cleaning of the ships. The tanks were situated in a warehouse area that also contained machinery, oils and other materials. The cause of the explosion is not known at this time. However, British military personnel on the island were put on alert in case the incident turned out to be an attempted terror attack but there is no suggestion now that this was anything but an accident.
According to the Gibraltar Chronicle, in an article dated 31st May 2011, Spanish tug boats are on the scene helping to control the fire which is intense. At one point, according to the Gibraltar Chronicle, it had been thought that nearby buildings would have to be evacuated due to the dense smoke caused by the explosion, but that has now been deemed unnecessary by the Gibraltar authorities.