Twelve passengers on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas suffered minor injuries when a fuel tank exploded on a pier in Gibraltar near the ship on Tuesday, May 31. “Immediately after the explosion, the ship retracted the gangway and moved a safe distance from the dock,” a Royal Caribbean spokesperson said in a statement. The Gibraltar Chronicle reported that the explosion occurred in a fuel tank on the pier.
The injured passengers received treatment on board for injuries ranging from a fractured shoulder to minor cuts and burns. The ship, which is carrying 4,000 passengers, was not damaged, although passengers felt the force of the explosion. The ship has since departed Gibraltar and will be at sea on Wednesday before calling at Cannes, France, on Thursday. The ship is sailing on a 14-night Mediterranean cruise from Southampton, England.
Two Independence of the Seas passengers were still on shore when the explosion occurred, according to CNN. They were not injured, the cruise line said, and Royal Caribbean is assisting them with travel arrangements to rejoin the ship Thursday in France.
There also were two injuries ashore, according to press reports. A worker who was welding on top of the tank suffered severe burns, and a policeman sustained less-serious burns while trying to rescue him. Efforts to extinguish the fire were hampered when a second fuel tank also caught fire. Flights in and out of Gibraltar’s airport were suspended as the tank continued to burn. For more information, visit .