A sand-dredging ferry caught fire and two of its pumping machines exploded yesterday in Kandal’s Kien Svay district.
The blast sent a black plume of smoke over the Mekong and caused oil to leak into the river.
Yem Sokhum, Phomthom commune police chief, said that according to crew members on the vessel, the fire started when a leaking oil tube spilled into running engine machinery. The fire spread to six oil containers, each carrying 200 litres of oil.
“Villagers and authorities were able to intervene in time and no one died in the accident,” he said.
After the accident, the ferry was dragged ashore and taken to Phnom Penh for repairing, according to Sokhum, who added that he didn’t know whether the sand-dredging ferry held a valid licence or not.
Kien Svay district governor Heng Theam said that HSC Co Ltd held a licence for sand pumping in the area where the accident occurred.
However, HSC representative Yuth Sakol said the burning ferry did not belong to his company, but was run by a man named “Pov” who worked for a dredging company.
“I am not sure whether the Vietnamese sand-pumping ferry had a government licence or not because I was not at the site when the accident happened,” he said.