Eight crew members died and another eight were injured
as a result of a massive explosion and fire
when the one-year old Norwegian motor tanker Heimvard
struck a refinery jetty at speed at Muroran, Hokkaido
on May 23, 1965.
Two Japanese also died on board their tug Koryu Maru,
which sank while assisting the Heimvard to berth.
The Heimvard from Ras Tanura loaded with 26,771 tons of Saudi crude,
began spilling oil into the harbour.
The impact caused a kerosene stove on the Koryu Maru to topple over,
the flames from which spread across the floating oil to the Heimvard,
sparking off an explosion in her leaking tank
that ripped a 50 ft square hole in her side.
The fire then spread to other tanks,
engulfing the Heimvard in flames.
Seaman were seen jumping into the flaming oil
that spewed from the gaping hole in her bow
in an effort to escape from the inferno on the vessel.
The Heimvard drifted across the harbour
until running aground on a sandbank,
with three further explosions tearing more holes in her.