MoD Blames L and T for Mishap at Vizag Facility
A day after an accident killed a worker at the Navy’s Visakhapatnam-based nuclear submarine building facility, the Ministry of Defence on Sunday tried to shift the blame to its private industry partner, Larsen & Toubro, even as it said the submarines — Arihant and Aridaman — were safe.
“An accident occurred last evening (Saturday) while L&T, an industrial partner, was undertaking preparatory activities of the hydro pressure test of a tank inside a building at the Ship Building Centre, Visakhapatnam. No defence personnel were involved in the accident,” ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said.
“The test of the component was part of the standard industrial process being carried out by the industrial partner at the facility. The accident led to the unfortunate death of a worker and injury to two other workers of L&T. Immediate medical attention was provided and the injured workers are now stable,” Kar said.
He also said the accident was in no way related with any nuclear-related activity. “The submarines are safe and the accident does not adversely affect the project activities or the activities of Indian Navy or the Defence Research and Development Organisation,” he added.
While Arihant will soon go for sea trials before its commissioning, Aridaman is under construction at the Visakhapatnam facility.
Kar said the work related to the pressure system involved in the accident “has been suspended till the cause is established and mitigating measures are put in place.”
The DRDO has ordered an inquiry into the accident. DRDO spokesperson Ravi Kumar Gupta had earlier stated that “the submarines are safe and the accident does not adversely effect the development of nuclear submarines.”
It was on Friday that a naval officer was killed and two workers of Mumbai-based Mazagon Docks Limited suffered asphyxiation in a carbon dioxide leak in the engine room of the under-construction Kolkata-class Destroyer when its fire-fighting unit was being tested at the Mumbai Port Trust.
On February 26, a gas leak due to a fire on board the conventional diesel-electric submarine INS Sindhuratna during a post-refit sea trial off Mumbai claimed the lives of two naval officers, while seven other naval personnel suffered asphyxiation. Soon after the accident, then Navy chief Admiral D K Joshi resigned owning moral responsibility for a series of naval accidents, including the sinking of INS Sindhurakshak on August 14.