5 killed in blast on ship under fix at Cochin Shipyard

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Cochin Shipyard fire: A blast was reported onboard Sagar Bhushan today, an ONGC operated drill rig.

An explosion and fire on an ONGC drill ship while it was undergoing fix at the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) left five people dead and seven injured today, the CSL said.

The incident happened when works such as welding were being carried out on the "water ballast" of the ship.

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A probe has been ordered to find out what caused the blast, but officials have ruled out a sabotage.

The ship owned by ONGC was docked at a fix and maintenance yard. Five deaths have been confirmed. Fire tenders rushed to the ship immediately, along with ambulance. "Situation is under control".

The blast took place inside the water tank, said M.P. Dinesh, a senior police official in the southern state of Kerala where the shipyard is located. With the country's largest ship repairing yard, CSL repairs nearly all types of vessels, including ships of the oil exploration industry, the Indian Navy, the Coast Guard, and merchant ships of the ONGC.

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The condition of one person who suffered 45 per cent burns was serious.

The Cochin Shipyard is the largest and oldest shipbuilding and maintenance for two decades. "Others continued firefighting from the forward hatch and reached to the incident spot", said the shipyard operator in a statement.

Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari tweeted saying he had asked the Managing Director of the shipyard to speak to the agencies concerned and begin an inquiry into the explosion.

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