Gas leak reported on ONGC rig ahead of explosion that killed five

A gas leak had been reported on an ONGC drillship which was undergoing repairs at India’s Cochin Shipyard but the order to stop the hot works on the rig came too late resulting in deaths of five workers. 

The explosion happened on Tuesday morning in a ballast tank of the ONGC-owned drillship Sagar Bhushan, which has been dry-docked at the yard for maintenance work for nearly two months.

ONGC stated that the drillship was undergoing mandatory special survey (hull & machinery) repairs as per class requirement.

In a statement issued later on Tuesday, the shipyard confirmed that five people had been killed and seven injured as a result of the incident.

The drillship Sagar Bhushan arrived at Cochin Shipyard on December 7, 2017 for drydock repairs. It was drydocked on January 12, 2018, and it was to be undocked on February 28. The work completion was scheduled by April 7.

The shipyard further detailed in the statement that, at around 0915 on Tuesday morning, a phone call was received at Cochin Shipyard informing that there was a gas leakage near the AC compartment area of the drillship undergoing repair in the dry dock No 1.

According to the company, immediate instruction was passed on to stop all the hot works. However, by this time explosion had occurred in the forward area of ship, near to the AC plant.

Fire tender rushed to the ship along with ambulance. Fire man onboard the ship immediately started fire fighting and the fire tender joined with them for the fire fighting from the Aft area. Two firemen with BA sets immediately rushed into the smoke filled area and started fire fighting and rescue operations. Others continued fire fighting from the forward hatch and reached to the incident spot.

In a separate statement on Wednesday, the shipyard said that Shri P Radhakrishnan, the Minister of State for shipping visited Cochin Shipyard to take stock of the situation on board the drillship Sagar Bhushan.

The minister promised full support from the Ministry of Shipping in the company’s endeavors to help the families of the affected workers. He also instructed the shipyard to conduct a thorough investigation and find out the root cause and report the details to the ministry.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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