Police probing presence of chemicals on Alang vessel

July 06, 2014 04:28 am | Updated May 23, 2016 04:09 pm IST - Ahmedabad

The Gujarat police are probing the presence of chemicals on chemical tanker MV Perin docked at the Alang ship-breaking yard, where five gas cutters died in a >gas leak accident while dismantling the vessel.

However, maritime authorities claimed on Saturday that the name of the chemical, which burst forth from the bottom of the ship at an intense pressure , was still not known. The incident took place on June 28.

“The forensic team is investigating the matter. We have not had an accident like this in the past,” an official told The Hindu on condition of anonymity.

A source claimed that the explosion was owing to the presence of Naptha. “It is a flammable liquid used for mixing in kerosene and petrol. In case of a hydrocarbon, the ship cannot enter Alang without the certificate from the explosives department. In this case, a mixed declaration was given that the cargo was of oil,” the source said.

Investigation officer K.J. Rathod told The Hindu that the police were “probing the presence of Naptha as well as any other chemical. The last cargo on the ship was of edible oil. Compartment numbers 7 and 8 still have edible oil,” he said.

“Cargo-free vessel” According to the Customs declaration, the last cargo was of edible oil. “It was a cargo-free vessel and a dead vessel for the past two years. And before that there was edible oil,” the official said. Preliminary observations, he said, suggested that the gas cutters did not follow the standard operating procedure for cutting.

The Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) – one of the regulatory bodies that gives permissions for ship cutting – is also inquiring into the incident. The police have also not ruled out the likelihood of negligence in giving approvals on the part of Gujarat Pollution Control Board and GMB.

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