VISAKHAPATNAM: It took more than 12 hours to tame the blaze that broke out in the offshore supply vessel Coastal Jaguar off Visakhapatnam coast on Monday. The situation was brought under control and the vessel was towed to safety into the inner harbour after the fire was completely doused, Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) officials said here on Tuesday. They said the injured were undergoing treatment at a corporate hospital in the city.
The vessel hired by a contractor of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited to undertake handling of oil and crude was on a trial run when the incident occurred. There were reportedly more personnel than the stipulated number onboard the vessel. Of the 29 crew and staff on board, 27 were rescued by the personnel of Indian Coast Guard and VPT. While the body of Ashish Kumar, a native of Rajasthan was found, another crew member by name Vicky Chowhan is still missing, and search is on.
Of the 15 injured persons, who were admitted to the hospital, five have been discharged. The remaining injured are in the intensive care unit (ICU), undergoing treatment. Of them, three are said to be critical with more than 90 per cent burns. The remaining have suffered burns varying from 30 per cent to 60 per cent.
The fire-fighting operation went up to late-night on Monday and after a strenuous effort put by VPT and Indian Coast Guard (ICG), the fire was brought under control.
A senior port official said that investigation is on by various agencies to ascertain the cause of fire. Senior officials belonging to Union Ministries of Shipping and Petroleum are enquiring about the incident, sources said. While VPT deployed four of its crafts, the ICG pressed into service its ships Rani Rashmoni, Samudra Paheredar and interceptor boat C-432, apart from one helicopter.
“We had to use both water and foam to control the raging fire and after dousing the fire, we pumped out the water to keep the ship afloat,” DIG Coast Guard Bibuthi Ranjan said. A three-member committee comprising Revenue Divisional Officer, fire safety officer and district industrial officer has been constituted to submit report on the incident. Meanwhile, Minister for Tourism Avanthi Srinivas, VMRDA chairperson Dronamraju Srinivas and MP MVV Satyanarayana visited the hospital where the injured were undergoing treatment.