The Centre today sought a report from the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) on the explosion and fire on an under repair ONGC drill ship, which claimed five lives. Minister of State for Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan visited the shipyard this morning and took stock of the situation on board “SagarBhushan,” a day after the ONGC ship was hit by the explosion while it was undergoing repair. “The Hon’ble Minister instructed CSL to conduct a thorough investigation and ascertain the root cause and report the details to Ministry of Shipping,” a CSL statement said here. Talking to reporters, the Minister said there was an explosion but there was no sign of fire inside the ship. He said the CSL has begun a high level internal inquiry into the incident. Technical investigations are being carried out by DG Shipping and Factories and Boilers Department. “Police is also taking all steps.. after the enquiry only we can find out the reasons for the explosion,” the Minister said, after visiting those who injured in a hospital here.
In a statement, the CSL had said five people died and seven were injured in the incident. The Minister appreciated the efforts taken by the CSL management in reaching out to the families of the deceased and also for promptly announcing the ex-gratia compensation to their kith and kin. He also enquired about the condition of those undergoing treatment and promised full support from the Ministry of Shipping in the company’s endeavours to help them and their families, the CSL release said. During the interaction with the unions and associations, Radhakrishnan and the Chairman and Managing Director of the CSL, Madhu S Nair promised adequate support to all the affected families.
“The employees also appreciated the management for a positive and prompt response in the aftermath of the accident. The supervisory association expressed their appreciation for the remarkable and quick rescue operation and the presence of all senior executives on the spot without delay,” the statement said. Principal Officer (I/C) Mercantile Marine Department under the DG Shipping, Ajithkumar Sukumaran said its investigation will cover all aspects including lapses that had occurred in conducting mandatory safety and security checks before commencing the repairing job. Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources Nitin Gadkari had expressed shock over the loss of lives in the blast.
“Shocked by unfortunate blast at Cochin Shipyard… My heartfelt condolences to bereaved families. I have spoken to MD, Cochin Shipyard n asked him to provide all necessary medical support to victims n to initiate immed inquiry with help of concerned agencies (sic),” he had tweeted yesterday. CSL said the vessel had arrived at Cochin Shipyard on December 7, 2017 for dry dock repairs.
It was dry-docked — brought to land for repairs — on January 12, 2018 and it was to be undocked on February 28, 2018. The work completion was scheduled by April 7, 2018. “CSL places health, safety and environment (HSE) as one of its core value in operations,” the company said in a statement yesterday.