The Malta Independent 16 May 2021, Sunday

20 years ago this evening: the Um el Faroud tragedy

Tuesday, 3 February 2015, 18:58 Last update: about 7 years ago

20 years ago later this evening, nine dockyard workers were killed in an explosion on board a small Libyan tanker in the Drydocks.

On that day, the Malta Financial Services Centre building at Mriehel was being inaugurated, but all of a sudden the top authorities were hurriedly called out and rushed to the Dockyard.

The victims were all working on the Libyan state-owned Um El Faroud tanker in Dock No. 3 when, at around 10:15pm, an explosion on board ripped the tanker's central section.

Seven of the workers- George Aquilina, 24, of Qormi, Charles Callus, 46, of Valletta, Mario Hales, 39, of Mqabba, Simon Mifsud, 26, of Birgu, Simon Pisani, 22, of Msida, Angelo Sciberras, 51, of Zabbar,  and Anthony Vassallo, 29 of Dingli- died instantly.

The other two- Paul Seguna, 37, of Zebbug and George Xuereb, 58, of Qormi suffered grievous injuries, and later died at St Luke's Hospital.

While in the ambulance, Xuereb reportedly asked the medical staff what had happened to his co-workers.

 In 1998, when the inquiry was concluded, the ship was towed out to sea by Wied iz-Zurrieq for usage as an artificial shipwreck and a diving attraction. A brass plaque was stuck to the ship as a memorial to the nine workers.

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