The Vietnamese Ministry of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs has recently asked relevent agencies and businesses to provide support for five Vietnamese nationals who were killed and seven others injured by chlorine gas released by a dropped tank at Jordan’s Port of Aqaba on Monday.
The Vietnamese victims had been working on the Hong Kong-registered Forest 6 vessel when the chlorine tank fell from a crane onto its deck, said the Vietnamese Embassy in Saudi Arabia concurrently with Jordan on Wednesday.
The Department of Overseas Labor has requested companies that have provided seafarers to the ship to urgently supply necessary support to the wounded crew members and the families of the dead in the accident.
Agencies concerned will announce the names and other details of the Vietnamese victims in the toxic gas blast, the department said, adding that any wounded victim wishing to be repatriated should be supported by the companies in conjunction with relevant agencies.
These companies must also coordinate with the vessel’s owner, the Vietnamese Embassy in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, the Vietnamese foreign ministry’s Consular Department, and Jordanian authorities in investigating the cause of the incident and carry out post-mortem procedures for the victims.
Earlier, Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son asked Jordan to support the embassy in protecting its citizens and providing relief for the Vietnamese survivors in the gas leak that has so far killed 13 and wounded 251 others.
Son also held a phone call with Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ayman Al-Safadi on Wednesday to discuss the issue.
Deputy PM Al-Safadi offered his condolences to the families of the Vietnamese victims and said Jordanian authorities will try their best to assist the embassy in citizen protection and handling the remains of the five Vietnamese victims.
|Footage on Jordan state TV showed a large cylinder plunging from a crane on a moored vessel, causing a violent explosion of yellow gas in Jordan's Aqaba port. Photo: AFP|
The seven Vietnamese crew members injured in the incident were receiving treatment in a local hospital as of Wednesday, the Jordanian foreign ministry said in a statement.
On behalf of the Vietnamese government, Son extended his deepest sympathies to the Jordanian government over the losses caused by the accident.
He thanked the Jordanian foreign ministry and authorities for their promptness in reporting the deaths of the five Vietnamese crew members and for providing medical help for those in need.
Jordanian PM Bisher al-Khasawneh on Wednesday said an investigation was underway, the findings of which would soon be made public.
The leak came from a 25-ton tank of chlorine gas that fell while being prepared for export to Djibouti, Reuters cited Jordan’s officials as saying.
A video posted on Jordan state television’s Twitter page showed the tank falling from a winch to the deck of the aforementioned ship, unleashing a cloud of yellow-colored gas into the air as people ran away.
Chlorine is commonly used as disinfectant and water purification agent, but if inhaled, it can produce hydrochloric acid in the body, leading to “internal burning and drowning through a reactionary release of water into the lungs.”
Aqaba, which occupies a narrow stretch of Red Sea coastline between the Israeli and Saudi borders, is Jordan’s only maritime gateway and a transit point for most of its imports and exports, AFP said.