AJMAN // Three workers died and five were seriously injured after a fire in a diesel cargo ship.
The accident happened about 5.30pm on Tuesday when workers from a ship-repair company were on board the vessel docked at Gate 3 in Ajman Port.
“Firefighters arrived at the scene in less than five minutes and extinguished the fire, though they found three men had already lost their lives,” said Brig Gen Saleh Saeed Al Matroushi of Civil Defence.
There were 12 workers on the ship when it caught fire. Five suffered first and second-degree burns and four escaped unhurt.
All the injured workers and the bodies were taken to Sheikh Khalifa Hospital.
Gen Al Matroushi said the blaze started when an industrial vacuum cleaner short-circuited and caught fire. Firefighters managed to put out the blaze before the entire ship was gutted. Gas and chemicals fumes were believed to have killed the three men.
The survivors have been referred to police to help with investigations. The ship’s captain and crew were not on board when the fire broke out.
Dr Abdul Mutti, the director of technical affairs at Sheikh Khalifa Hospital, said the injured men were still in a critical condition. Four of them are in the intensive-care unit.
“Three of them have more than 90 per cent of their bodies burnt and one had about 50 per cent burns,” he said.
“Only one among the injured is not in a very critical situation. He suffered moderate injuries.”
He said all five had almost suffocated after inhaling smoke. “The four are still having problems breathing and are on life-support machines to provide oxygen.”