Three crew members have died in an explosion on an offshore supply ship in Italy.

The local fire authority said a fourth seafarer from the Palau-flagged Asso was taken to hospital with serious injuries, while a fifth was rescued and was said to be in a confused state.

The incident occurred on Wednesday at the port of Crotone in the south of the country.

Video footage from the fire department shows firefighters lifting damaged CMA CGM and Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) containers from the deck of the 20-metre Asso.

The Qui Cosenza daily said the vessel was moored at the time of the blast at 1730 hours (1630 GMT) at the Giunti pier.

The explosion was said to have taken place inside a container where welding was reportedly taking place.

No other seafarers were reported missing.

A number of fire brigade teams attended the incident, coordinated by commander Giuseppe Bennardo. It took two hours to bring a subsequent blaze under control.

Ownership not known

Health workers and police were also in attendance, together with port authority members.

An investigation has begun into the accident.

The Asso is not listed with an International Maritime Organization number.

Its Maritime Mobile Service Identity — or MMSI — number is 511100735.

Ownership of the Asso is unclear.