Five people died in a blast that took place on a drillship that was being repaired at Cochin Shipyard Ltd, India’s officials confirmed.
The explosion is said to have occurred in a ballast tank of the ONGC drillship Sagar Bhushan, which was undergoing repair at the yard for the past two months.
India’s Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said he was shocked by the unfortunate blast at Cochin Shipyard on Tuesday.
Gadkari added that an immediate inquiry will be launched into the incident with the help of concerned agencies.
Seven other workers were injured in the blast as well, according to a statement from the yard.
A gas leakage near the AC compartment area of the ship was reported to the yard at around 09:15 a.m.
“Immediate instruction was passed on to stop all the hot works. By this time explosion had occurred in the forward area of the ship, near the AC plant. Immediately a fire tender was rushed to the ship along with an ambulance,” the statement added.
A firefighting team was rushed into the smoke-filled area and started firefighting and rescue operations. Others continued firefighting from the forward hatch and reached to the incident spot, as informed.
Medical care is being provided to the victims and CSL and other officials are present on site to help, the Ministry of Shipping said.
“Sec-Shipping has got in touch with Chief Secretary, Kerala and ensured all possible aid to victims,” the ministry said in a tweet.
The death toll is likely to rise, according to police officials cited by the Indian Express, as several workers were in critical condition due to the severity of the sustained burns.
Work on dousing the fire is underway.
The oil rig was drydocked on January 12, 2018 and it was supposed to be undocked on Feb 28, 2018. The completion of the repair work was scheduled for the beginning of April.