Fire on Drillship Kills Five at Cochin Shipyard

Sagar Bhushan (file image via social media / anandamoy)

By The Maritime Executive 02-13-2018 01:02:00

On Tuesday morning, five contractors were killed and 12 more were injured in an explosion and fire on the drillship Sagar Bhushan.

The explosion occurred in a ballast tank during drydock maintenance at Cochin Shipyard, a large state-owned shipbuilder in Kerala. "Thick fumes" slowed the rescue effort, according to shipyard officials, but the fire was brought under control. The injured personnel were transferred to a nearby hospital, including four burn victims in critical condition. Early reports suggest that the fatalities were due to smoke, and the location of the fire within a confined space was a likely contributing factor. 

In a social media post, India's shipping minister Nitin Gadkari said that he was "shocked by the unfortunate blast at Cochin Shipyard where [workers] have died. My heartfelt condolences to bereaved families." Gadkari called for an investigation into the circumstances behind the explosion. 

The 1987-built drillship Sagar Bhushan is operated by India's state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). She was undergoing repairs at Cochin as part of her five-year special survey, according to ONGC. The firm said in a statement that "the cause of the incident is being ascertained."