Two dead, one missing in tanker explosion at western German dock

An explosion on an oil tanker rocked a shipyard in western Germany on Thursday morning, killing at least two people, a police statement said.

A third dockworker is missing after the blast in Duisburg, which ripped open at least one of the vessel's fuel holds.

Police said that the explosion had occurred as a result of work carried out on the ship. The exact cause of the accident is unknown.

The force of the blast catapulted the workers several hundred metres onto the land.

Thick smoke was seen billowing from the fuel hold. Fire safety experts took about one hour to extinguish the resulting blaze.

The inland motor tanker is registered as the property of a Duisburg-based shipowner under the name Julius Ruetgers.

Police said the mooring of tankers at the shipyard is only allowed without cargo.

While it is unclear what substance caused the explosion, it could have been down to a residue gas mixture. The vessel's fuel is not thought to have played a role.

Last update: Thu, 31/03/2016 - 12:48

More from Europe

Mattarella looking to usher in functioning Italian government quickly

Following crisis talks in Rome on Saturday, Italian President Sergio Mattarella said he will be taking steps soon to...

Austria to veto further EU accession talks with Turkey

Austria will block the continuation of EU talks with Ankara over Turkey's future membership in the bloc, Austrian...

Diplomats call for ceasefire in Aleppo at Paris meet

Foreign ministry officials from the West and the Middle East meeting in Paris Saturday for talks on Syria have...

French government seeks to extend state of emergency to July 2017

The French government said Saturday it would ask parliament to approve an extension to the country's state of...

No agreement reached between Russia, Ukraine on gas deliveries

Russian and Ukrainian officials failed to reach an agreement on gas deliveries this winter in a first round of EU-...