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Crewman killed in Port Chalmers explosion

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/02/2017

A male crew member has been killed after a gas canister apparently exploded on board a cruise ship while berthed at Port Chalmers, near Dunedin.

The incident on the Emerald Princess happened around 4.45pm on Thursday. No one else was injured.

Cruise operator Carnival Australia says first reports indicate that technical work was being done at the time on the hydraulic launching system on a tender vessel.

"We are deeply saddened that a member of Emerald Princess' crew was fatally injured in the incident," it said in a statement.

Carnival Australia said it was working with police and other authorities in their inquiries.

The ship, which can carry 3080 passengers, is on a 12-night round trip from Sydney to destinations in New Zealand.

Police said they were investigating the death on behalf of the coroner and had consulted both WorkSafe New Zealand and Maritime New Zealand.

Port Otago said the ship arrived in the morning and was berthed berthed at the No.1 container berth ahead of a scheduled 6pm departure.

"It is understood that a gas canister may have exploded on board," the company said in a statement.

Emergency services were called and fire, ambulance and police responded.

Passengers who were returning to the ship at the time of the explosion were held in Port Otago's cruise facility and then taken to the ship's gangway by bus.

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