China’s Bengbu Shenzhou Machinery (former Bengbu Shipyard) builds tugboats that maneuver vessels by pushing or towing them in a crowded harbor or a narrow canal. Tugboats are small but powerful. Because of their sealed structure any fire in the cabin will be disastrous as proved by the incident on June 11 at 17:20 hours local time in Anhui Province, China.
The tugboat was under construction where dozens of workers were working in the cabin when fire broke out suddenly. All but three (who were trapped) escaped. One died on the spot and another, in the hospital. The lone survivor is in stable condition.
In January this year, a tugboat built by Bengbu Shenzhou Machinery sank during a sea trial on the Yangtze River killing 22 workers from Singapore, Indonesia, India and Japan. The reason for the earlier accident is attributed to conducting trial voyage without permission and with improper operations.
Authorities are investigating the cause of fire.