A crew member opened the slop tank as they were tank cleaning after cargo of tallow. He slipped, broke his leg, others went down fast to try and get him up as he was in danger of drowning, having passed out below. They all passed out, including my father, Chief Officer Edmond Lyons (not John).Hi Denise, It was before I joined the company but there should be people who can help.Its a long time ago but I think it was gas in the bottom of the tank. Only just remember so sorry if I am mixed up!
7 men died that day: Sean Nolan from Waterford, my father Edmond Lyons, Cork and Liverpool, plus 5 Malaysian crew, including the original man they went to save.
As Dad went down the men around the top saw rthe others passing out below and tried to grab Dad to pull him back. They all suffocated or drowned.
Update: a person who served with Dad told me his brother was onboard as a Cadet at the time and the tallow balls (part of the tank cleaning process) broke apart, the freshly exposed surface essentially sucking the oxygen out of the tank.
July 13th 1978. RIP.