16th anniversary of Um El Faroud tragedy marked
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16th anniversary of Um El Faroud tragedy marked

The day when nine dockyard workers were killed in an explosion on a tanker was recalled today - the 16th anniversary - with a commemoration by the dockyard's new owners, Palumbo.

The nine were working on the small Libyan tanker, the Um El Faroud when a massive explosion late in the evening rocked the Three Cities and cast Malta into mourning.

The explosion is believed to have been caused by an accumulation of gas.

The nine victims were Carmelo Callus, 47, of Valletta, George Aquilina, 25, of Qormi, Simon Pisani, 22, of Msida, Simon Mifsud, 27, of Vittoriosa, Mario Hales, 40, of Mqabba, Angelo Sciberras, 52, of Zabbar, George Xuereb, 58, of Qormi, Paul Seguna, 37, of Zebbug, and Anthony Vassallo, 30, of Dingli.

Seven were killed instantly and two - Mr Xuereb and Mr Seguna - died at St Luke's Hospital.

Two workers were critically injured but survived

The powerful blast destroyed the central section of the tanker, which was in dry dock. The vessel was eventually scuttled off Wied Iz-Zurrieq to serve as a diving attraction.

This morning's simple but sombre ceremony was attended by a number of relatives, members of the management and some workers.

Flowers were laid on a memorial to dockyard workers who lost their lives at their job.

Palumbo Malta General Manager Joseph Calleja said the company had decided to rehabilitate the monument as soon as it took over the dockyard. He recalled the incident, paid tribute to the workers and said their families were free to visit the memorial whenever they wished.

The family members expressed their appreciation for the commemoration.

Prayers were said during the ceremony by Fr Malcolm Aguis.

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