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Oil Tanker Fire Near Hong Kong Kills 1, Potential Spill Could Threaten Endangered Turtles and Dolphins
An oil tanker caught fire off of Hong Kong's Lamma Island Tuesday morning, leaving one person dead and two missing.
"We could see that the victim who passed away had been burned," police representative Wong Wai-hang said in a briefing reported by The New York Times. "There were clear injuries on his head and fractures in his hands and feet."
An additional 23 crew members were rescued from the water. Four were injured and one was being treated in intensive care.
The explosions were strong enough to be felt by residents of the nearby island, CNN reported.
"My windows shook really badly but (there) was no wind," Lamma resident Deb Lindsay told CNN. "I thought there had been an earthquake!"
Lamma Island residents worried about a potential oil spill reaching their coastline. Southern Lamma Island hosts a protective nesting site for green turtles, a severely endangered species. An endangered colony of white dolphins also calls Hong Kong waters home.
Turtle sightings dwindle on Hong Kong's 'turtle cove' www.youtube.com
Hong Kong's Environmental Protection Department told CNN that cleaning vessels had been immediately placed on standby but that no oil spill had yet been detected. Some liquid was seen spilling from the boat, but it was unclear if it was oil or water from firefighting, and there was no oil residue on the water around the vessel.
The boat had been refueling in Hong Kong on its way to Thailand from the southern Chinese city of Dongguan, The New York Times reported.
The Fire Services Department's division commander of marine and diving Yiu Men-yeung told The South China Morning Post that the boat was tilted 30 degrees as of Tuesday evening but was at no risk of sinking.
However, officials said the boat was too hot to tow away immediately, or to board to discover the cause of the fire, and would need several days to cool down.
One fire department insider with 30 years of experienced explained to the South China Morning Post that fighting fires on oil tankers was especially challenging:
"Depending on the situation, the two major fireboats spray foam to coat the tanker and suppress combustion. Other fireboats use water jets to cool the vessel," the insider said, on condition of anonymity.
"It has taken [firefighters overseas] several days or even a few weeks to extinguish oil tanker fires in worst-case scenarios. It is definitely not easy."
The insider also added that rescue operations were difficult because the heat of the vessels made boarding perilous. Further, the fact that oil leaks could cause fires to break out on the water itself make rescue diving too dangerous.
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Wolves and Jaguars Are Already Threatened by Border Razor Wire As Trump Vetoes Bid to Block Emergency Wall Funding
President Donald Trump issued the first veto of his presidency Friday, overturning Congress' vote to block his national emergency declaration to fund a border wall that environmental advocates say would put 93 endangered species at risk. However, the president's decision came the same day as an in-depth report from UPI revealing how razor wire placed at the border in the last four months already threatens wildlife.
Yet another whale has died after ingesting plastic bags. A young male Cuvier's beaked whale was found washed up in Mabini, Compostela Valley in the Philippines Friday, CNN reported. When scientists from the D' Bone Collector Museum in Davao investigated the dead whale, they found it had died of "dehydration and starvation" after swallowing plastic bags―40 kilograms (approximately 88 pounds) worth of them!
By Joe Sandler Clarke
"Don't expect us to continue buying European products," Malaysia's former plantations minister Mah Siew Keong told reporters in January last year. His comments came just after he had accused the EU of "practising a form of crop apartheid."
A few months later Luhut Pandjaitan, an Indonesian government minister close to President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo, warned his country would retaliate if it was "cornered" by the EU.
By Luis Torres
For some people who live along the U.S.-Mexico border, President Trump's attempt to declare a national emergency and extend the border wall is worse than a wasteful, unconstitutional stunt. It's an attack on their way of life that threatens to desecrate their loved ones' graves.
At least 150 people have died in a cyclone that devastated parts of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi over the weekend, The Associated Press reported Sunday. Cyclone Idai has affected more than 1.5 million people since it hit Mozambique's port city of Beira late Thursday, then traveled west to Zimbabwe and Malawi. Hundreds are still missing and tens of thousands are without access to roads or telephones.
"I think this is the biggest natural disaster Mozambique has ever faced. Everything is destroyed. Our priority now is to save human lives," Mozambique's Environment Minister Celso Correia said, as AFP reported.