Fire Explosion in Beached Tanker in Alang

An explosion and subsequent fire on-board a beached tanker at the Alang-Sosiya Ship Recycling Yard in India killed five workers and severely injured two others on Saturday, according to Indian officials. The fire broke out at 12.45 pm on the 163-metre-long MT Union Brave, a tank-ship purchased recently by Bhavnagar-based Kiran Ship Breaking Co. for recycling. The vessel was beached at plot 82.

Witnesses said the fire appears to have broken out after workers used blow torches to cut open a compartment near the pump-room towards the rear part of the ship. Workers in other parts of the yard did much of the rescue work and cut open more parts to pull out their trapped co-workers. They apparently found two workers on a higher part of the ship and pulled them out, but could not enter deep enough to rescue five others who were trapped in the inferno. The fire was brought under control and emergency responses wrapped up around 6 pm, said a witness. More than half of the tank-ship had already been cut apart as part of the recycling process.

Update 1: Oct. 09 2012

As per protocol, the Gujarat Maritime Board, the nodal agency at the yard, Sunday sealed plot no. 82, where the accident took place, pending the completion of enquiries.

No definitive clues appear to have been dug out as yet, though most officials believe the workers must have used gas cutters to open a compartment or pipeline containing inflammable material near the pump-room instead of using spanners to unbolt screws.

Source: The Indian Express, Seanews Turkey

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