The captain of the Japanese tanker that exploded on 29 May was found dead on 31 May, the Japan Coast Guard told IHS Maritime. The body of Masaichi Ando, 64, was found after a search lasting more than 24 hours. Ando was the only one of the Shoko Maru’s eight-man crew who was not rescued after the 1995-built 2, 242dwt oil tanker exploded near Himeji port around 09.30hrs Japanese time. (source: IHS Fairplay)
Coast guard officials said: “Divers found Ando’s body in the hold of the ship after it sank and his family has identified the body.” Shoko Maru, owned by Hiroshima-based Shoho Kaiun, sank about 10 hours after the explosion. Four other crew members were sent to hospitals after suffering severe burns. All crew members are Japanese nationals. The tanker had just unloaded crude oil at Himeji, about 450km west of Tokyo, when the explosion occurred. Japan’s transport minister Akihiro Ota told journalists last week that the explosion was likely to have been caused by a crew member using a grinder to remove rust from the vessel.