Two people have died in an incident on board the FPSO Espoir Ivoirien operating on the Espoir field offshore the Ivory Coast, said the floater's owner BW Offshore.

The incident occurred while work was being performed in a cargo tank and was caused by a leakage of hydrocarbons into the tank where the work was being performed.

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"This is a tragic day for the families of the men we have lost, and our hearts go out to them," said Marco Beenen, the chief executive of BW Offshore.

Production has been shut down and the leak has been contained within the cargo tank, with all personnel accounted for.

The FPSO is operated by BW Offshore for CNR International. Both companies are co-operating with local authorities in addressing the situation.

The 270-metre-long FPSO was a conversion in 2001 at Keppel in Singapore of a 1975-built hull.