Kochi: At least five people were killed and 11 others wounded in a fire accident on February 13 at the Cochin Shipyard in Kerala, southern India.
According to sources in the shipyard, a blast was heard from a docked vessel, Sagar Bhushan, around 10 am, when around 20 people were working in the ship.
The blast took place in the tank of the ship, which is owned by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation. The drilling vessel was being repaired at the dry dock of the shipyard.
Those working at the time of the blast mostly included daily laborers and contract workers.
Workers say that more than 200 persons could have been working inside the ship if it was not for the holiday of Shivarathri.
The deceased have been confirmed as Unnikrishnan, a safety officer with the shipyard, Jayan, Ramshad and Jivin, who were contract workers.
Following the request of Cochin Shipyard, Indian Navy also sent their fire tenders to the spot to help bring the fire under control.
Police sources said the situation at the shipyard was in under control, ndtv.com reported.
A detailed inquiry will be required to find out what caused the fire and the blast. “Preliminary inquiry suggests that the deaths happened due to intense smoke,” police sources said.
The shipyard in Kochi — which started operations in 1978 –is India’s oldest and largest shipbuilding and maintenance facility.
Federal Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari has ordered an inquiry into the blast. “I have spoken to MD, Cochin Shipyard and asked him to provide all necessary medical support to (the) victims and to initiate immediate inquiry with the help of concerned agencies,” Gadkari was quoted as saying by news agency IANS.
A tweet from the minister read, “Shocked by the unfortunate blast at Cochin Shipyard where four people have died. My heartfelt condolences to bereaved families.”