And what trauma it was. The film of the explosion itself remains utterly terrifying; the conflagration seems to turn day into night in an instant. The sound design is superbly visceral, doing its best to conjure up the hellish noise of this giant blowtorch as it consumed 30 tonnes of gas per second. And the memories of the survivors are scarcely believable. One man recalls the top of his head ‘starting to cook’; another the deck he was standing on beginning to melt. ‘I thought drowning might be an easier death than burning,’ remembers another.
It’s astonishing that they made it back to dry land at all – this film feels like a worthy tribute to the 167 people who weren’t so lucky.