TWO workers have died and a third is in serious condition
after inhaling toxic fumes aboard a tanker moored off the island's west coast.
The three Indian nationals were part of a team deployed
to remove gas and oily water from the Singapore-registered Mt Anjasmoro
when they collapsed on Saturday night at about 8.45pm, said police.
Mr Kamaruddin Sathik and Mr Selvam Dhinakaran, both aged 20,
were pronounced dead at about 10pm by paramedics.
Survivor Kandasamy Muthurajah, 32, was taken to the Singapore General Hospital
and warded for treatment in the Burns Unit. His condition is reported to be stable.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has ordered all work on the ship to stop
until after officials have 'determined that measures are in place to carry out the work safely', said a spokesman.
The ministry and the police are investigating.
The 33,000-tonne Mt Anjasmoro is owned by Indonesia-based PT Berlian Laju Tanker Tbk.
The three men were installing equipment to free up gas
and pump out water and oil residue in the tanker's ballast area, a process known as 'de-slopping.'
They apparently inhaled a toxic gas, though it is not yet known what kind.
A dozen other workers on board were not affected.
The MOM probe is expected to examine whether the men should have been wearing breathing gear
and if the ballast area was checked for toxic gas first.
Arrangements were made yesterday for the bodies of the two men,
who worked for Great Asia Marine, to be flown to India,
said a spokesman for Prime Marine, the main contractor for the de-slopping.
'We are concerned and saddened by the incident,
and are cooperating fully and assisting the authorities.
We are also conducting our own investigations,' said the spokesman.
Yesterday, general manager S.R. Nagah-rajhan of Sunair Marine Engineering,
which employed Mr Muthurajah, visited him in hospital and said his condition was improving.
'He has a tube through his nose, is unable to talk but is conscious,' said Mr Nagah-rajhan.