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Fire at Under-construction Navy Warship at Mumbai Dockyard; Worker Killed, Another Injured

In a statement, a spokesperson of the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders said that Bajendra Kumar possibly succumbed to asphyxia and burn injuries.


Updated:June 21, 2019, 11:57 PM IST
Fire at Under-construction Navy Warship at Mumbai Dockyard; Worker Killed, Another Injured
File photo of Mazgaon Dockyard in Mumbai. (Reuters)

Mumbai: One person was killed and another injured in a fire at an under-construction warship of the Navy at the Mazgaon dockyard in Mumbai on Friday evening.

The deceased, a contract worker trapped in the vessel, was identified as 23-year-old Bajendra Kumar. He was declared brought dead at the state-run JJ Hospital, said its chief medical officer.

In a statement, the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders (MDSL) spokesperson said that Kumar possibly succumbed to asphyxia and burn injuries. Another worker suffered "minor burn" injuries, it added.

Fire brigade sources said they received a call about the fire at 5.57 pm and it was classified as Level three, which indicated it was serious.

"The under-construction warship 'Visakhapatnam' caught fire at 5.44 pm. The blaze erupted on the second deck of the ship," said PS Rahangdale, chief of the city fire brigade.

Eight fire-fighting engines, along with quick-response vehicle, were pressed into service to extinguish the blaze, he said.

Dockyard authorities said the "minor fire incident took place on Yard 12704 (Visakhapatnam), the first class of Project 15 B during grinding operations in tank at MDL today at around 4 pm. The fire was brought under control by 7 pm".

"The cause of the fire will be ascertained after a proper inquiry, but the first priority is to douse the fire with a minimum loss," another fire brigade official said.

As of 9.45 pm, "cooling" operations were underway, said fire department officials, adding the affected area was filled with thick smoke and heat.

The stealth guided missile destroyer 'Visakhapatnam' is being built in the yard and is the first of the four such ships under the Rs 29,340-crore 'Project 15-B', contracted to MDSL. The dock, which dates back to the 18th century, is among the foremost in vessel building for the Indian Navy and has also been contracted to build the Scorpene submarines.

Mazgaon Dockyard is the only facility in India having the capability to build submarines. Visakhapatnam, the largest warship of its class, was unveiled for construction in Mazgaon Docks in April 2015.

No senior dock official was available to comment on the impact of the fire on the delivery schedule.

The last reported accident at the dock was in March 2018, when Commander Kuntal Wadhwa of the Indian Navy lost his life due to a suspected gas leak while INS Kolkata was being built. It also left several workers injured.

The dock was looking to raise over Rs 500 crore from an Initial Public Offering (IPO) last year but choppy market conditions are deemed to have impeded the government move.

(With inputs from agencies)

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