Gibraltar Explosion Sends Cruise Ship From Dock, Injures 12 Passengers


Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas was at the port of Gibraltar on Tuesday when a fuel tank exploded on the pier, injuring several passengers and forcing a hasty departure that left passengers behind.

Welding operations on the top of the fuel tank were apparently to blame. "The explosion blew the lid off the tank and sent a fireball high into the air," the Gibraltar Chronicle reported in an update on the story on Wednesday.

"Twelve guests sustained minor injuries and have received medical treatment on board," Surinder Manku, a spokesman for Royal Caribbean International, told the Gibraltar Chronicle. Reportedly the injuries sustained ranged from minor burns to a fractured shoulder.

Royal Caribbean said in statement that it immediately moved "a safe distance away from the dock" before heading to its next scheduled stop of Cannes.

Passengers left ashore at the time of the incident are being assisted by the Royal Caribbean to meet up with the ship in Cannes. The cruise will continue on its 14-night journey, the Agence France Presse reports.

Government officials said that while terrorism has not been ruled out, the exact cause of the explosion is not known.

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