Crew member on Chevron storage vessel killed after machine explodes during maintenance
Authorities on Thursday were working to avert a leak from a storage vessel carrying 400,000 barrels of crude oil in the Gulf of Thailand off Chon Buri.
One crew member was killed after seawater entered the hull of the FSO Benchamas 2 when a seal malfunctioned during maintenance earlier this week.
Navy spokesman Adm Prokgrong Monthatphalin said multiple agencies were working to recover the body of the dead crewman, fix the leak and avert an oil spill.
“The vessel’s condition is safe and weather conditions are not interfering with the rescue operations. However, there is no electricity in the engine room. … It is affecting assessment of the situation,” he said in a statement.
Operated by a unit of the US oil company Chevron, the 25-year-old vessel has a storage capacity of 650,000 barrels and operates at the Benchamas field in Block B8/32 in the Gulf of Thailand.
It is located about 207 kilometres off Sattahip in Chon Buri, home to the country’s biggest navy base.
Chevron in a statement expressed sadness at the death of the crew member, a contractor, and said that all non-essential personnel were being removed from the vessel.
“The safety of all personnel and the protection of the environment remain our top priorities. We have engaged and notified the relevant authorities and are working with all stakeholders,” it said.
A spill from an undersea pipeline operated by Star Petroleum Refining Plc in January 2022 leaked an estimated 50,000 litres of oil.
It occurred just 20km off the coast of Rayong and the slick reached local beaches, necessitating a lengthy cleanup.
Rayong residents and small business owners in January filed a class-action lawsuit seeking 5 billion baht in damages.