Two crew have died and two were left with serious burns after an explosion on the bulk carrier, Tamar, in the north Atlantic

An explosion on a bulk carrier, Tamar, has left two people dead and two people injured.

The incident happened while the ship, which was carrying coal, was on passage between Baltimore and Azores, Portugal.

The captain of the Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier contacted the U.S Coast Guard at approximately 7am on 24 April.

He reported an explosion in the ship’s forward storeroom.

Initial reports were that one crew member was dead and three others had suffered massive burns and were in need of immediate medical attention. One of the injured crew later died.

In a statement, the U.S. Coast Guard said the New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing pararescuers arrived on board the Tamar at about 9.30pm, after deploying from their HC-130 with two small boats and advanced life-saving equipment.

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They stayed with the Tamar until the arrival of  Portuguese aircrew who, along with three New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing pararescuers, medevaced the injured to Terceora Island, Azores.

They were then flown by Portuguese Air Force jet to Lisbon, Portugal for medical treatment.

The Canadian Coast Guard also diverted two warships to offer assistance.

The fire resulting from the explosion was extinguished, and the cause is unknown.

The ship’s engineering plant was unaffected and the crew is continuing on their transit to the Azores, Portugal.

Tamar, which was built in 2010, is owned by the Slovenian shipping firm Splosna Plovba.