- 5 people died and 11 have been injured in a fire at Cochin Shipyard
- Sources say blast was heard from a docked vessel, Sagar Bhushan
- At least 20 people were working on the ship when the blast took place
According to sources in the shipyard, a blast was heard from a docked vessel, Sagar Bhushan, around 10 am. The explosion took place in the tank of the ship, which is owned by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation.
The drilling vessel was being repaired at the dry dock of the shipyard.
A co-worker of those who died, CV Chandran, who is employed as a casual labourer at the shipyard has alleged safety lapses.
"This cannot happen without safety lapses. We couldn't even identify the faces of our colleagues when the bodies were being rushed to the hospital," Mr Chandran told NDTV.
Police sources say for now, the situation at the shipyard in under control. A detailed inquiry will be required to find out what caused the fire and the blast.
The shipyard officials have denied any safety lapses. According to sources, at 9:15 am, the first call was made to the shipyard officials by the safety official on the ship, warning of a gas leak in the portable water tank but the explosion happened even before the fire and rescue team could reach the spot.
Cochin Shipyard Limited Chairman and Managing Director Madhu S Nair told reporters that compensation of Rs 10 lakh each will be given to the families of those who died, and a high-level probe has been ordered into the incident.
The shipyard in Kochi -- which started operations in 1978 -- is India's oldest and largest shipbuilding and maintenance facility.