June 12, 2004

Odfjell reports second NCC Mekka fatality

Odfjell reported yesterday that a second member of the crew M/T NCC Mekka had died. Since the explosion onboard the ship, he hadbeen under intensive medical treatment at a specialist hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Odfjell says a Maritime Enquiry was held on board M/T NCC MEKKA on June 9, 2004 while the ship was at anchor in Rio de Janeiro. The Enquiry was administered by the Norwegian General Consul in Brazil and attended by Maritime Investigator John Ramsoy from the Norwegian Maritime Directorate (NMD) and Odfjell's Risk Manager, Capt. Toralf Sorenes. Several witnesses were heard during the Enquiry and a survey of the area of the explosion was also carried out.

During the Enquiry it became obvious that the crew had reacted swiftly and done an outstanding job with fire fighting and first aid. The fire was extinguished in a very short time and heat transfer and potential escalation of the fire into other tanks were avoided. The ship will stay in Rio de Janeiro for the next few days to carry out further inspections in order to establish what repairs are necessary.

This is the second incident this year involving an explosion aboard an Odfjell tanker.

In February, the 39,821 dwt product tanker BOW MARINER sank about 50 miles off the Virginia coast after suffering an explosion when en route from New York to Texas City . BOW MARINER was managed by Ceres Hellenic Shipping Enterprises in Greece, commercially operated by Odfjell in Bergen, Norway and owned by Odfjell's subsidiary Odfjell Asia II Pte Ltd, Singapore.

Odfjell said yesterday that it is continuously working to improve the safety level on its ships and "we are now concentrating our efforts towards safety measures for cargo operations."

M/T NCC MEKKA is a 37.272 dwt. chemical tanker built in Norway in 1995. The ship is registered in Norway and classed by Det Norske Veritas (DNV). M/T NCC MEKKA is owned by National Chemical Carriers Ltd of Saudi Arabia, and operated commercially and managed by Odfjell ASA in Bergen, Norway.

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