A Naval officer was on Friday killed and two employees of Mazagaon Docks Limited (MDL) suffered asphyxiation due to gas leak in a firefighting unit on board an under-construction warship at the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT).
The incident occurred around 11 am on board the warship, Yard-701, which was to be commissioned in the Navy in about a month as INS Kolkata, a stealth destroyer carrying guided missiles.
Yard-701 is the first of the three Project 15A warships and are follow-on orders for the Delhi class of Destroyers with MDL. Two more of the Project 15A class warships, christened Chennai and Kochi, are also under construction at MDL.
“The warship was going through acceptance trials. But this incident is not going to be a set-back for the commissioning schedule, as we will either repair the carbon dioxide unit or replace it in time for the ship’s induction into the Navy,” said MDL spokesperson Parvez N Panthaky.
“The work has now begun to either repair or replace the faulty unit. There will also be an inquiry into the incident from the MDL’s side,” he added.
“Yard-701, being built by MDL, had a malfunction in its carbon dioxide unit, leading to gas leakage, while undergoing machinery trials in MbPT. One Naval officer and some MDL personnel were affected and have been hospitalised,” Panthaky said in a release earlier in the day.
“As part of the delivery trials by MDL, the carbon dioxide firefighting system was being evaluated and accordingly CO2 was to be released in one of the machinery compartments. During trials, one of the system valves on the CO2 bottles malfunctioned, leading to leakage of CO2 in the compartment,” a Navy spokesperson said.
Commander Kuntal Wadhwa, the Engineering Officer (Designate), inhaled the CO2 and was critically injured. The officer was rushed to St George Hospital in Mumbai. However, efforts to revive him failed, he said.
“A Board of Inquiry has been ordered by the Navy to investigate the causes leading to the accident. Representatives from MDL will also be associated with the inquiry. The Department of Defence Production in the Defence Ministry has also asked for a detailed report from MDL,” he added.
‘Antony Must Resign’
Mourning the loss a naval officer in the latest accident in Mumbai, BJP on Friday demanded Defence Minister A K Antony’s resignation and sought an explanation from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the “sorry state of affairs” in the country’s maritime force. “The BJP deeply mourns the death of a naval officer because of the malfunctioning and gas leakage on a new warship, which is in the making. This is the 11th accident in the navy during the Congress-led UPA government. Antony must take responsibility and resign,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.