Acetylene leak led to Cochin Shipyard blast

It will now be probed why entrapment of the dangerous gas could not be detected in daily tests like gas fill permit.

KOCHI: The initial finding that the leakage of acetylene had led to the explosion on board oil rig ‘Sagar Bhushan’ at the Cochin Shipyard on Tuesday has been confirmed by the factories and boilers department. It would now investigate why entrapment of the dangerous gas could not be detected in daily tests like gas fill permit.

“We’ve received the medical report from the hospital where autopsy of the dead was conducted. All of them died inhaling toxic gas. There are possibilities of the formation of only two gases -- acetylene and oxygen during the ship repair work. Only acetylene turns into poisonous gas on burning. This confirms our initial suspicion,” said department director P. Pramod.

Now the probe will focus on why the gas leakage was not detected. “We’ll find out whether there was any negligence in following the standard safety practices on the day. The report which will include this angle will be filed in five days,” the official said.

Earlier, the preliminary probe by the police too had found the leaked gas was acetylene. “We’re probing how the leak occurred despite strict safety practices in place and whether there was any human error or not. We’ll record the statement of all employees and witnesses before going through documents like log book,” Mr P.P. Shams, assistant commissioner of police (ACP), Thrikkakara, said.

The officer will submit a detailed report before the additional chief judicial magistrate court, Ernakulam, early next week. Meanwhile, the forensic test report is yet to be released. “The result is expected in a couple of days. We’re looking at a detailed probe as to the cause of the blast and don’t want to make any premature conclusion,” said Dr K.P. Jayakumar, director, Forensic Science Laboratory, Thiruvananthapuram.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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