Cochin Shipyard fire: Unsafe practices caused CSL blast

The probe found that the leakage of acetylene gas had led to the explosion.

Kochi: The probe by a five-member squad of the factories and boilers department into the explosion in the ONGC’s ‘Sagar Bhushan’ oil rig dry-docked inside the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) for repairs on February 13 has found “safety violations” by the workers as well as failure of the authorities to conduct proper safety checks.

The final report into the incident in which five persons were killed was handed over to the department director P. Pramod on Monday night via e-mail.

“The preliminary report had pointed out a safety violation and also failure by the CSL authorities to properly conduct mandatory safety checks like gas fill permit. I’ll go through the (final) report and if the charges are confirmed in it, then we’ll recommend necessary legal action to the state government,” Mr Pramod told DC.

The probe found that the leakage of acetylene gas had led to the explosion. The gas “leakage started on the night before the day of the incident when workers forgot to close the valve carrying the welding gas,” sources said.

The CSL authorities too erred in carrying out mandatory safety check properly. Though the CSL officials gave statement that the daily ‘gas fill permit’ test was conducted on the day of the incident, the probe found the leakage was not detected during the inspection.

“This, even as one of the workers reported the smell of the gas emanating forcing the senior fireman rush to the potable water tank at double bottom half of the ship where the welding works were going on,” the sources said.

The accident was caused by a momentary explosion of high impact that occurred near the A/C plant, which is situated above the ballast tank. The location was identified based on the nature of the deflections on the bulkheads (steel walls) and the damage extent observed during the inspection.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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