An oil tanker has exploded and burst into flames off the western coast of Trinidad, leaving four people dead.

A spokeswoman with the Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force, Lieutenant Leslie Mohammed, tells VOA the "Tradewind Sunrise" tanker exploded and caught fire Wednesday while anchored for welding work.

The spokeswoman says 26 people were on board the Panamanian-registered vessel at the time of the blast and fire and that the upper deck was destroyed.

Lieutenant Mohammed said Trinidad's Coast Guard extinguished the blaze in about two hours and that investigators will return to the ship Thursday, in hopes of identifying the cause of the blast. It was not clear how much oil the vessel may have been carrying.

Some information for this report provided by AP.