KUALA LUMPUR (AFP)
Firefighters on Monday recovered the body of the last crewman missing after a Malaysian tanker exploded off Borneo island, bringing the death toll from the accident to five, police said.
The charred body of the Malaysian crewman was found inside the chemical tanker, which exploded early Thursday while being loaded with methanol on the South China Sea island of Labuan, district police chief Saiman Kasran said.
The bodies of four other crewmen, including a Philippine national, were recovered earlier near the MV Bunga Alpinia, which was engulfed and severely damaged by a huge inferno following a series of explosions.
The accident occurred amid a thunderstorm and police said they suspect a lightning strike had triggered the blasts aboard the ship as it was docked at a methanol terminal run by national energy company Petronas.
Some diesel oil was leaking from the 38,000-ton vessel but ship owner MISC Bhd. (3816.KU), a subsidiary of Petronas, said in a statement the spill was "minor" and being "largely" contained by anti-pollution booms.
The chemical and palm oil tanker had 29 people on board--23 Malaysians and six Filipinos. Twenty-four of them were brought ashore safely, three of whom only had minor injuries, according to Malaysian press reports.
Labuan is off the coast of the Malaysian portion of Borneo island.