MV Smooth Sea 22 Oil Tanker Accident

16th February 2023
In Thailand, January 2023, The Mission to Seafarers responded to a tanker ship that exploded and killed eight dockworkers

The Mission to Seafarers (MtS) recently responded to a tragic accident that took place in Thailand in January 2023. A tanker ship exploded, resulting in the death of eight dockworkers. The MtS team visited the Ruammitr Dockyard in Samut Songkhram province, located about 75 km from Bangkok port, to assess the situation and welfare of crew onboard, and to provide support to those affected by the tragedy.

The MtS team initially witnessed a general consultation and meeting with all the members of the community that were affected by the blast. To give an idea of the devastation caused, most houses in nearby areas were destroyed or in need of some repair.

The team found that all the crew members onboard the ship were safe, as the ship was in the dockyard at the time of the explosion. However, seven Myanmar dockworkers and one Thai national of Myanmar descent were killed instantly. The bereaved families received 50,000 baht from the company’s insurance for the burial, and there are promises of further compensation from the company and government that those families will receive 800,000 baht, but this is still in the process of being fulfilled.

During their visit, the MtS team talked with three families of the victims, who all lived in the nearby areas. The families expressed their need for help while they awaited compensation from the company. Following a funding proposal by the team, MtS made a special exception to assist the dockworkers by providing an emergency fund of 10,000 baht for food packs to be given to the families of the eight victims.

The team also noted that these migrant workers seemed to be low on the priority list for compensation claims by the Thai Government and were in need of intervention by the Myanmar Government, but so far this had not materialised.

In their follow-up visit, with the approved special fund, the MtS team were able to provide food packs to the eight families of the victims, who expressed their gratitude for the support and kindness shown by The Mission to Seafarers. A mother even said that out of all the organisations working for migrant workers in the area, only the MtS team had visited and supported them. The MtS team continues to be in contact with the families and is committed to providing any further support and assistance that may be needed.

The Mission to Seafarers is deeply saddened by this tragedy and extends its heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. MtS will continue to support those affected and work towards ensuring that the rights and well-being of seafarers and dockworkers are respected and protected.

The Mission to Seafarers is committed to helping seafarers who have been injured or affected by a fatality at sea. MtS’ team of port chaplains is always on hand to provide support and guidance, assisting crew in getting the medical attention as well as navigating the sometimes complex legal and insurance processes that can arise after an injury.

Alongside a tough environment, seafarers will sometimes also face notable dangers. It is important that seafarers prioritise safety while working and undergo proper training to understand and minimise the risks involved. Seafarers must not undertake work if underqualified or untrained, if they are exhausted, or unfit to work. If seafarers have any concerns about their safety, they can reach out to a Mission port chaplain for confidential support. Contact a chaplain here.






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