Source AP ©

Explosion at Curacao ship kills five welders

Five welders who were repairing a ship were killed in an explosion Thursday that apparently was triggered when they ignited oxygen fumes, officials said.

Firefighters were still battling the blaze several hours after the explosion rocked the Curacao Drydock Company on this Dutch Caribbean island.

The welders had been cutting the ship's hull to retrieve a motor, said Farley Hernandez, general manager of the drydock. The ship, an offshore support vessel which usually carries a submarine and divers, was not loaded when the explosion occurred, Hernandez said.

The explosion happened when the welders hit some oxygen, said Jeritza Eikalanboom, a member of the Curacao coast guard. The five victims were all from Curacao, Hernandez said.