Butcher Island fuel tanker fire: Excessive heat led to reignition

According to executive director Manohar Rao, the fire was apparently caused by a lightning strike amid thundershowers.

Published: 07th October 2017 11:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th October 2017 11:58 PM   |  A+A-

The fire at Butcher Island oil terminal, Mumbai. (PTI Photo)

By Express News Service

MUMBAI: The fire that broke out at the diesel tanks located on the Butcher Island terminal of the Mumbai port trust (MbPT) on Friday evening continued to intensify on Saturday despite efforts by fire personnel to control the blaze. 

The firefighters had brought the blaze under control, but “excessive heat” led to reignition at the tank around 4.30 am today, the official said.

“Firefighting, as well as the cooling operations, are on. Foam and other extinguishing agents are being used for the purpose,” Mumbai fire brigade chief P S Rahangdale said.

“Our main challenge is to keep the other tanks near the affected one safe. So, on one hand our firemen are involved in cooling operations to keep other tanks safe, while on the other, they are also engaged in dousing the flames,” Rahangdale added.

According to officials, the fire had broken out around 5 pm on Friday when Mumbai and the surrounding areas witnessed thundershowers. However, no causality was reported.

According to executive director Manohar Rao, the fire was apparently caused by a lightning strike amid thundershowers. “The fire is contained to one tank farm owned by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL). It is under control, but firefighting is still on,” Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) Chairman Sanjay Bhatia has said.

He also added that a couple of months back HPCL oil tanks at Visakhapatnam too had encountered similar fire due to lightning strike and hence their help, too, is being sought to douse the fire. Butcher Island, located at around 8 km off the east coast of the city near the iconic Elephanta Island, houses MbPT’s marine oil terminal. Oil tankers offload crude oil at the terminal. It is stored in huge tanks for some time and then transported to refineries at Mahul near Chembur via underwater pipelines. The BPCL has eight tanks on the island with an installed capacity of 1.79 lakh kilolitres.

Four oil carriers were to offload at the terminal on Friday. The last one of those four was to start offloading at around 4 pm. However, all the ships in the vicinity were moved away when the fire broke out at 5 pm, Bhatia said, adding that the coast guard too has been put on alert for additional firefighting equipment in case of need.
The tank that caught fire first was not in operational use, which has kept the damage to a minimum and the process to empty up the other tanks on the island too has begun, BPCL officials have said.

A team from Mumbai fire brigade along with firefighting teams from Mumbai Port Trust and Victoria Dock fire station too are trying to douse off the blaze.


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