KOCHI: The Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) has announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each for the families of workers who lost their lives in a blast on Tuesday on board ONGC’s drilling ship Sagar Bhushan which is under repair. The CSL has also announced it would meet the entire medical expense of 11 workers who suffered injuries."It is a bad day for the CSL, " chairman and managing director Madhu S Nair said at a press briefing. According to the information received so far, all safety measures were in place before the commencement of work on Tuesday. A blast sound was heard from the docked vessel by 9.15 am.
One of the of the deceased C S Unnikrishnan, of Tripunithura, is a senior fireman with the CSL. Four other deceased are labourers on direct and indirect contract. The Ministry of Shipping and the Union Government have been informed about the accident. Union Minister of State for Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan has sent a representative to the shipyard to take a stock of the situation,’’ he said. “A gas leakage near the AC compartment area of the ship docked at drydock 1 had been reported by 9.15 am. Immediately, an instruction was passed on to stop all hot works. By this time explosion had occurred in the forward area of the ship, near the AC plant. Soon the area was filled with smoke.
Two firemen rushed into the smoke-filled area and started firefighting and rescue operations. Others continued firefighting from the forward hatch and reached the accident spot. The last injured person was rushed to the hospital by 11. 20 am,’’ the chairman said.
The chairman, who said the exact reason for the accident could not be identified, however, ruled out the possibility of a sabotage. What we could primarily understand is gas entrapment in some area of the ballast tank could be the reason for the accident.
‘’We could not identify the exact reason that led to the accident. The exact reason can be identified only after a detailed and thorough inquiry. The internal inquiry panel will be headed by the director of operations, CSL. The Director of Factories and Boilers and the Directorate General of Shipping will also conduct inquiries at their levels,’’Madhu S Nair said.The Mercantile Marine Department (MMD) will also probe the accident.The Ship Sagar Bhushan arrived at the Shipyard on December 7, 2017, for drydock repairs. It was drydocked on January 12 and was to be undocked on February 28. The work was scheduled to be completed by April 7.
CPI seeks probe
T’Puram : The CPI has demanded a detailed investigation into the Cochin Shipyard blast that killed five workers. In a statement here, CPI state chief Kanam Rajendran urged the Union Government to ensure adequate safety for workers. “There are reports that at the time of blast sufficient permanent workers were not present,” he said, adding the government should take immediate measures to ensure such incidents are not repeated.
Unnikrishnan a fireman at CSL for 15 years
Unnikrishnan C S, who had been working as a fireman with the CSL for the past one-and-a-half decades, was appointed a permanent employee with the PSU seven years ago. He is survived by wife Sindhu, and two daughters Athira - a Plus-Two student and Arya, a Class VIII student. Unnikrishnan’s elder brother Sasi, who works as a contract employee at the shipyard, said he came to know about the incident while he was on his way to the city.
“When I reached there, the whole area was under a thick cover of smoke. The situation was chaotic,” he said.According to Sasi, Unnikrishnan was to complete his one-year tenure as a duty officer on board the ship by February-end. After that, he would have moved to the fire station here. ‘’But destiny always has a different plan and you never know it,” he said. The body of Unnikrishnan was brought to the house by 5.15 pm. The cremation was held later in the day. The residence of Eroor-native Kannan M V, who was killed in the CSL accident, witnessed heart-rending scenes.